Nearly 19,000 de-identified genomic records from cancer patients treated by an international group of hospitals, including the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, have been collected in a database coordinated by the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and are now available to scientists across the globe.
The data was gathered from the genomic sequencing of thousands of patients’ tumor samples, including 59 cancer types. The clinical-grade genomics data included in the database focuses on a targeted set of genes typically used to diagnose the cancers or provide additional information to help doctors prescribe treatments, an indication of the high quality of the data.
In addition to the openly-available genomics data, scientists can apply to AACR to receive more in-depth clinical information about patients’ tumors, such as survival data and treatment regimens.
“We want other scientists to use this information to pursue their own scientific studies about cancer,” says Victor Velculescu, M.D., Ph.D., co-director of the cancer biology program at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center and member of AACR’s steering committee on its Project GENIE (Genomics, Evidence, Neoplasia, Information, Exchange).
Velculescu says scientists could use to the data to find subgroups of patients with particular mutations to determine their response to certain anti-cancer drugs. The vast amount of data in AACR Project GENIE and large numbers of patients enables this type of needle-in-the-haystack research, he says.
Each institution contributing to AACR Project GENIE will continue to add data, and the effort aims to add more hospitals to its network.