Most experts believe that one important element of Vice President Biden’s cancer “moonshot” has to be a major database that researchers and clinicians can access to help them develop new therapies or treat patients.
Both the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the American Association for Cancer Research have launched such projects, as have some big academic cancer centers.
And Thursday, during a teleconference with reporters to discuss President Obama’s State of the Union call for a stepped-up war on cancer, the National Cancer Institute’s acting director, Douglas R. Lowy, stressed that his agency is nearing completion on an effort of its own.
When it launches this summer, the Genomic Data Commons will be able to hold data from as many as 50,000 patients and clinical trial participants, including genomic analysis of their cancers, the treatments used, their responses and outcomes, Lowy said. The information would come not just from NCI clinical trials but from other research as well.
Now that cancer is considered a disease of the genome, with at least hundreds of variations, access to information about common mutations and the efforts to fight them is considered critical for progress against the disease.
The NCI portal, which was announced in December 2014, will open with two big data sets containing information from the Therapeutically Applicable Research to Generate Effective Treatments (TARGET) program and the Cancer Genome Atlas. More information would be added later.
(Click here to read the full article, written by Lenny Bernstein, Washington Post)