Analyzing the genes and functional pathways of mutations that play a role in cancer provides novel insights into the biology of normal cells as well as the biological properties of tumors during their formation, spread, response to therapy, and relapse. History provides abundant precedent that advances in biomedical science are founded on this type of basic mechanistic understanding. The Functional Genomics Initiative (FGI) will engage the community of experimental scientists and clinicians at Memorial Sloan Kettering to mine the data generated by the CMO and advance cancer science.
The diversity and volume of tumor samples analyzed each year by the CMO are unparalleled in any other cancer genomics effort. Also unparalleled: the quality and breadth of the experimental research community at MSK. The FGI represents a powerful and unique engine for scientific discoveries at the interface of mechanistic biology and clinical research, which can illuminate the basic biology of cancer.