Vice President Biden Unveils New Open-Access Database to Improve Cancer Research

As part of the Cancer Moonshot Initiative, Vice President Joe Biden recently announced the Genomic Data Commons, a next-generation, open-access cancer database that provides data access, data analysis, and data sharing for cancer research. The database launched with raw genomic and clinical data from National Cancer Institute (NCI) initiatives, such as the Cancer Genome Atlas and the TARGET (Therapeutically Applicable Research to Generate Effective Treatments) program. The Genomic Data Commons contains patient information, including which treatments were used and how patients responded, from more than 14,000 patients. The goal is to add data from other patients over time.

“Increasing the pool of researchers who can access data and decreasing the time it takes for them to review and find new patterns in that data is critical to speeding up development of life-saving treatments for patients,” said Vice President Biden during a presentation announcing the launch of the program.

The database is accessible through an NCI portal and is interactive and searchable by centralized and standardized data on a unified and interoperable platform. The University of Chicago is housing and managing the database for NCI.

Sources: The Washington Post, June 6, 2016; University of Chicago News, June 6, 2016.