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National $100m pilot program to begin mapping cancer genome

The Cancer Genome Atlas is intented to be for cancers what the Human Genome Project was for people – a map that will let scientists better distinguish different types of cancer.

That means they could prescribe treatments that are more likely to work on patients with particular cancers, rather than more general treatment plans.

National agencies are starting with a pilot project using $100 million in federal money over the next three years to study a sampling of tumors. If they can gather enough significant data about the genetic composition of those tumors, the atlas project will continue full steam ahead.

Nobody knows how much that would cost. The results, however, will be available to researchers everywhere.

"Our intent is that all of the data from this project be in the public domain for everyone to use," said Anna Barker, a deputy director at the National Cancer Institute.

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