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COSMIC: Exploring cancer genetics at high resolution

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COSMIC is an expert-curated database of somatic mutations causing human cancer. Broad and comprehensive in scope, it describes over 4 million coding mutations across all human cancer disease types, and encompasses over 20 million somatic variants across other molecular mutation mechanisms in oncogenetics. Mutations are annotated across the entire genome, with deep-resolution expert curation focused on almost 200 key cancer genes.

This course will use the live COSMIC website and genome browser to show you how to access and explore this information, seeking to identify genetic causes and targets in all human cancers.



Simon Forbes, Sanger Institute

David Beare, Sanger Institute

Harry Boutselakis, Sanger Institute

John Tate, Sanger Institute

Laura Ponting, Sanger Institute


Audience and Prerequisites

  • This course is aimed at scientists and informaticians interested in the genetics of cancer, encompassing all aspects of academic research, data integration and visualisation, and industrial investigations into diagnostic and pharmaceutical design across all human cancers.
  • Graduate students, Postdocs and Staff members from the University of Cambridge, Affiliated Institutions and other external Institutions or individuals


    Syllabus, Tools and Resources

    During this course you will learn about:

    • Somatic cancer genetics; the range of genetic events and disease types underlying this disease.
    • How to access over 20 million mutations from several genetic mechanisms observed across more than 3000 disease descriptions standardised into one database.
    • How to explore trends in this information to identify genetic causes of disease, using the COSMIC website & tools.


    Learning Objective

    After this course you should be able to:

    • Understand the range of genetic drivers of cancer.
    • Access large quantities of genetic variant data across all human cancers.
    • Identify trends in this information via the COSMIC analytical website.
    • Explore cancer variation alongside all functional genomic annotations using the COSMIC genome browser.
    • Discuss how cancer genetics is evolving, and how COSMIC might support your future research.



    Book Here






    Introduction to COSMIC, what it does, how & why.

    Simon Forbes


    Online tutorial – how to get the most out of the website

    COSMIC team


    Q&A – work through specific audience questions?

    COSMIC team


    Discussion – How well are you supported by COSMIC?  How can we help your research further?

    4 breakout groups with COSMIC team.




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