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Institute in Disease Genetics Study


Monday 14th April 2008


A team of scientists at The Institute of Cancer Research has been awarded a grant of around £457,000 by the Wellcome Trust for research into adult glioma, cancer of the nervous system, as part of the largest ever study of genetics of common disease.

The Institute’s study* will provide DNA samples that will be analysed in a £30 million follow up to last year's Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium (WTCCC).

Professor Richard Houlston, who is leading the study at The Institute of Cancer Research, said: “We are very excited to be chosen to be part of such a massive initiative. We hope that work done at The Institute and across the globe will greatly help our understanding of diseases such as cancer.”

In all, samples from 120,000 people will be analysed as part of the WTCCC. The seven-fold increase in the number of samples to be analysed will allow researchers to look at a 25 diseases as well as studying the genetics of learning in children and individuals' responses to statins.

This new series of genome-wide association studies will be one of the most ambitious initiatives ever undertaken, bringing together leading research groups from at least 60 institutions internationally (including over 20 from the UK). Over the next two years, working in collaboration with the WTCCC or independently, the research teams are expected to analyse as many as 120 billion pieces of genetic data in the search for the genes underlying diseases such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, schizophrenia and asthma.

Dr Mark Walport, Director of the Wellcome Trust, says: “It is now possible to unlock the genetics of common diseases. Although genetics tells only part of the story of disease, it can provide valuable and often unexpected insights that offer the promise of developing new treatments for these often very complex diseases.”


*A genome-wide screen of SNPs to identify susceptibility alleles for adult glioma




For further information or to arrange interviews please contact:  Louise Brown at The Institute of Cancer Research, tel: 020 7153 5106 / 07721 747 900
Email: [email protected]


Notes for editors

About The Institute of Cancer Research

The Institute of Cancer Research is Europe’s leading cancer research centre with expert scientists working on cutting edge research. It was founded in 1909 to carry out research into the causes of cancer and to develop new strategies for its prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care. Website at:

The Institute is a charity that relies on voluntary income. The Institute is one of the world’s most cost-effective major cancer research organisations with over 90p in every £ directly supporting research.


About the Wellcome Trust


1. The Wellcome Trust is the largest charity in the UK. It funds innovative biomedical research, in the UK and internationally, spending around £650 million each year to support the brightest scientists with the best ideas. The Wellcome Trust supports public debate about biomedical research and its impact on health and wellbeing.


2. The Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium, the largest ever study of the genetics behind common diseases such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and coronary heart disease, published its results in the journals Nature on 6 June 2007.


The £9 million study was one of the UK's largest and most successful academic collaborations to date. It examined DNA samples from 17,000 people across the UK, bringing together 50 leading research groups and 200 scientists in the field of human genetics from dozens of UK institutions. Over two years, they analysed almost 10 billion pieces of genetic information.


For further information, see

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