NCI establishes Genomic Data Commons to facilitate identification of molecular subtypes of cancer and potential drug targets
The National Cancer Institute is establishing the NCI Genomic Data Commons to store, analyze and distribute cancer genomics data generated by NCI and other research organizations. The GDC will provide an interactive system for researchers to access data, with the goal of advancing the molecular diagnosis of cancer and suggest potential therapeutic targets based on genomic information. The GDC is the first step toward the development of a knowledge system for cancer, as originally recommended in a 2011 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, “Toward Precision Medicine.” The IOM recommended a single data repository (which would be backed up in more than one location) as essential infrastructure for integrating basic biological knowledge with medical histories and health outcomes of individual patients.
The GDC will facilitate access to data generated by many existing and forthcoming NCI programs. Prime examples of current genomic data sources are TCGA (The Cancer Genome Atlas), which focuses on adult cancers, and TARGET (Therapeutically Applicable Research to Generate Effective Treatments), which focuses on childhood cancers. The availability of genomic data will make it possible for researchers to better classify disease. The current system, the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), established by the World Health Organization, is very useful to track disease incidence, and forms the basis for standardized diagnoses and reimbursement for care. Genomic profiling of cancer in TCGA, TARGET and other studies has shown that tumors arising from a given organ can have different molecular signatures and conversely different cancer types can share common molecular signatures. The GDC will be built out over a number of years to ensure that results of individual projects can be combined to create broadly useful and accessible datasets and will be operated with funding from NCI to the University of Chicago under a subcontract from Leidos Biomedical Research at the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research. NCI’s Center for Cancer Genomics is establishing the data service with the assistance of NCI’s bioinformatics and cloud research program in the NCI Center for Biomedical Informatics and Information Technology.