On 11–12 July 2019, scientists from the Section of Genetics of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) are hosting 100 researchers from international partner institutes for the annual meeting of the Mutographs project, which aims to understand the causes of five different cancer types across five continents through studies of genetic mutations. During the meeting, the team will discuss progress made and plan the next steps and possible future collaborations.
The Mutographs project is funded by a Cancer Research UK (CRUK) Grand Challenge grant and is led by Professor Michael Stratton, Director of the Wellcome Sanger Institute (Cambridge, United Kingdom). The goal of the project is to discover how unusual mutation patterns are induced by different cancer-causing events. Carcinogenic agents cause cancer by damaging DNA in cells. This damage occurs in distinctive patterns – known as mutational fingerprints – that are unique to the agent that caused the damage.
The Mutographs project is an effort to link the causes of cancer with their mutational fingerprints and understand the differences in cancer burden between geographical locations. This is being done by examining samples of DNA collected from individuals with cancer (pancreatic cancer, kidney cancer, oesophageal adenocarcinoma, oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma, and colorectal cancer) across five continents. The project has the potential to lead to the discovery of previously unknown carcinogens, and the results will inform future cancer control actions.