- The Genomic Data Commons on Wednesday signed a data-sharing agreement between the National Cancer Institute and molecular information company Foundation Medicine.
- Beginning earlier this year with data on 14,500 patients, the agreement will expand the database with 18,000 patients. About 32,500 patient data populates GDC as a result of this week's agreement.
- The expanded number of cancer cases in the GDC will allow researchers to identify genomic changes that are responsible for the cancerous growth of tumors in individual patients, and identify which drugs may block the effects of these mutations.
The expanded database fits largely into President Obama's precision medicine efforts.
President Obama has targeted $215 million for the PMI this year, $130 million of it to the NIH to build a patient cohort of at least 1 million people by 2019 to support precision medicine research.
“For most of the history of human medicine we have been trying to prevent illness and treat it when it happens based upon evidence gathered over time that applies to large groups [which] kind of treats humans as generic individuals,” Dr. Francis S. Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, said at a recent conference. "But we're not average people. We all have individual differences that are important.”
The addition of data from 18,000 adult patients with a diverse array of cancers that underwent genomic profiling using Foundation’s genomic profiling assay will provide a major boost to the GDC.
In both the NCI and the Foundation Medicine databases, all patient information has been de-identified; only crucial genetic data and key demographic information are available.
The genomics information contributed by Foundation Medicine can be used by authorized researchers following approval by an NIH Data Access Committee. Requesters must affirm their use of the data is solely for biomedical research purposes and for publication or presentation in scientific journals or at research meetings.