National Cancer Institute launches genomic data commons as part of PMI, Cancer Moonshot

Computer data

A data system that will contain some of the biggest genomic datasets in the world is launching today as part of President Barack Obama's Precision Medicine Initiative and Vice President Joe Biden's Cancer Moonshot.

The Genomic Data Commons (GDC) is an initiative from the National Institutes of Health's National Cancer Institute, and will include data from the Cancer Genome Atlas and the Therapeutically Applicable Research to Generate Effective Treatments, NIH announced.

Biden revealed the launch during a visit to the operations center at the University of Chicago, which built and is managing the data commons with help from the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research.

The GDC will accept data from researchers around the world and will use algorithms to help "harmonize" the data to make it more accessible.

"Importantly, the explanatory power of data in the GDC will grow over time as data from more patients are included, and ultimately the GDC will accelerate our efforts in precision medicine," NCI Acting Director Douglas Lowy, M.D., said in the announcement.

The commons will help researchers use data, like cancer imaging and histological information, as well as data on the molecular profiles of tumors and treatment to "form the basis for a comprehensive knowledge system for cancer," according to NIH.

Platforms like the GDC are paramount in the PMI and Cancer Moonshot, especially because getting patients to donate data to such projects can be a major challenge, as Kathy Hudson, Ph.D., deputy director for science, outreach and policy at NIH, noted last week during the Office of the National Coordinator's annual meeting.

To learn more:
- here's the announcement
- check out the GDC site