ACGT - Advancing Clinico-Genomic Trials on Cancer

by Manolis Tsiknakis

ACGT is an EU-funded ‘Integrated Project’ admininstrated by ERCIM. ACGT will develop a bio-medical GRID infrastructure supporting seamless mediation services for sharing clinical and genomic expertise. Such interactions will allow joint clinico-genomic trials and help finding quicker and efficient routes to identifying patients’ individual characteristics that make one treatment more appropriate than another.

The completion of the Human Genome Project sparked the development of many new tools for today’s biomedical researcher to use in finding the mechanism behind disease. While the goal is clear, the path to such discoveries has been fraught with roadblocks in terms of technical, scientific, and sociological challenges.

The underlying motivation of ACGT is provide researchers and patricians with optimal means and resources to fight cancer.

Imagine that for selected cancer patients, biopsies are taken before, during and after treatment, made anonymous and the analyses are stored promptly in an accessible fashion. Imagine also that the patient’s data can readily be compared with those from other trials. And imagine that one can drill down into clinical and other databases in an intelligent search in hours rather than months. This might lead to the rapid identification of cancer profiles, and of their corresponding optimal therapy.

Figure 1
Participants of the ACGT kick-off meeting, held from the 27 February to 1 March 2006, in Juan les Pins, France. The meeting gathered the research teams from the 25 partner organisations involved in this initiative. On this occasion, a local press conference was organised to highlight support from the European Commission and ERCIM’s central role in this new scientific endeavour.

To realise this vision, ACGT brings together internationally recognised leaders in their respective fields, with the aim to deliver to the cancer research community an integrated clinico-genomic ICT environment enabled by a powerful GRID infrastructure. ACGT has formulated a coherent, integrated workplan for the design, development, integration and validation of all technologically challenging areas of work:

The technological platform will be validated in concrete settings of advanced clinical trials on cancer. Pilot trials have been selected based on the presence of clear research objectives, raising the need to integrate data from all levels of the human being.

ACGT promotes the principle of open source and open access, thus enabling the gradual creation of a European biomedical Grid on cancer. Hence, the project plans to introduce additional clinical trials during its lifecycle. It is in line with the priorities and objectives of the IST programme. It targets at the fulfilment of urgent needs of the cancer research community, a key area of societal importance.


Please contact:
Rémi Ronchaud, administrative coordinator, ERCIM office

Tsiknakis Manolis, scientific coordinator, ICS-FORTH, Greece;