Cancer is one of the major diseases threatening human health nowadays. As a complex disease, its pathogenesis, classification markers, and evolution progress are all pressing scientific problems that need to be resolved; also diversity among individual cancer patients remains main challenge to modern clinical treatments. With the development of "multi-omics" technologies, cancer research is undergoing a revolution. Comprehensive systemic studies in cancer based on molecular biology, will facilitate the development and application of new technologies and methods for cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment, thus laying the cornerstone for eventual eradication of cancer.

BGI-Research Cancer Division is established with particular emphasize on personalized medicine, which adheres to the P4 (predictive, preventive, personalized and participation) medical treatment theory. Based on important society demands, BGI-Research Cancer Division has its orientation, with "Healthy China 2020 Strategic Study Report" as theoretical and policy-wise basis. Through studies on integration of multi-omics and oncology, the Cancer Division strives to clarify the genetic mechanisms of cancer development, discover biomarkers of differentiate molecular subtypes, and develop translated applications for clinical use.

The cancer study team gathers a number of interdisciplinary talents specialized in molecular genetics, genomics, bioinformatics, clinical medicine, chemistry and engineering, with advisory board composed by reputable researchers, doctors and professionals from top institutions, hospitals worldwide. At present, the main work focuses on research and development of cancer basis study, cancer translational study, andmulti-omics core technologies. 

Systems Biology Study on Tumor Trans-omics

Systems biology is a field of study that attempts to integrate different levels of information (DNA, RNA, protein, etc.) to understand the functions and mechanisms of biological systems. Through the study of the correlations and interactions among various parts of biological system, one is expected to construct comprehensible model that can accurately describe the system as a whole. In the new century, with technology development of information processing and biological experiment, people begin studies on various types of diseases. The systems biology study with tumor trans-omics utilizes new technologies in multi-omics level to record the genetic variations during tumorigenesis, evolution growth,, metastasis, and drug resistance process, which facilitates the development of  systemic  analysis tools and softwares for trans-omics in turn, to provide systems biology model support for clinical non-invasive tumor detection.

Single Cell Study on Tumor Cell Lineage, Selection and Phenotypic Relationship

In March 2012, BGI published two momentous papers on the same journal of international academic journal "Cell". The cancer team developed a new method for single cell genome analysis, and applied it to identify the genetic characteristics of essential thrombocythemia (ET, a kind of blood neoplasm) and clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC, a typical kidney cancer), and demonstrated that single cell analyses of highly heterogeneous tissues provided much clearer intratumoral genetic pictures and developmental history than previous bulk tissue sequencing.

This new method has solved previous challenges associated with the high heterogeneity of tumor tissue samples, and inspired new thinking and research direction for further study of tumorigenesisgrowth, diagnosis, and treatment at single base solution. The establishment of single cell sequencing method laid the foundation for the cancer team in tumor cell study. This year, the team will continue to carry out single cell study of tumor cell lineage, selection and phenotypic relationship. The main purposes of these studies will be developing more advanced and accurate single cell analysis methods, which include single cell bioinformatics pipeline optimization, single cell experimental method updating, finding novel key driving factors in tumor evolution, building integrated application model for tumor cell lineage, selection, and phenotype studies, thus finally structuring studies on  functions, drug targets, and monoclonal antibodies of selected genes and mutations. 

Multidisciplinary Bio-X Platform Construction Based on Microfluidics

Microfluidic technology can integrate elementary units of sample collection, separation, reaction, and detection on a micron scale chip for auto-completion during biological, chemical and medical tasks. Because of its great performance on integration level, sensitivity, efficiency, decreased cost, microfluidic technology has displayed great potential in biological, chemical, and medical fields, and has formed a brand new interdisciplinary field of technologies involving biology, chemistry, medicine, electronics, fluid dynamics, materialogy, machinery, etc. The cancer team has invited researchers from reputable labs worldwide, contributing the work of developing microfluidic technology, and establishing a multidisciplinary crossed platform (Bio-X); thus, forming the core capabilities of prototype development, hypothesis verification and manufacture translation based on it. With an aim to create a micro-scaled, automated, high-throughput, integrate sample extracting library constructing system, it will supply an open supporting platform for sustainable development for BGI on science, technology and industry. 

Translational Study on Personalized Cancer Medical Care

Personalized cancer medical care, based on individual characteristics of genetics and cancer genomics, provides individualized medication guidance for patients undergoing personalized therapeutic treatments. It can help patients to choose the appropriate chemotherapies and target drugs, improve treating performance, and maximally prolong survival time. Translational cancer research also includes pharmaco genomics analysis of drugs and pharma dynamics prediction, which serves in early screening, examination and prognostic monitoring of cancers

BGI Research has established collaborations with Guangzhou Medical University First Affiliated Hospital, Shanghai Changhai Hospital, Beijing Tiantan Hospital, SYSU Cancer Center and a number of domestic medical institutions in personalized cancer research, to promote the medical translation of cancer genomics achievements, and facilitate the application of the latest cancer research outcomes to clinical treatments. So far, BGI Research has achieved initial phased objectives in lung cancer, prostate cancer, glioma and thyroid cancer.