NCI launches the Genomic Data Commons

This post was provided by the National Cancer Institute.

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) launched the Genomic Data Commons (GDC), a unified data system that promotes sharing of genomic and clinical data between researchers. The GDC will centralize, standardize, and make accessible data from large-scale NCI programs such as The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) and its pediatric equivalent, Therapeutically Applicable Research to Generate Effective Treatments (TARGET).

The GDC launched with a visit from Vice President Joe Biden to the operations center at the University of Chicago. The GDC will be a core component of the Cancer Moonshot and benefit from the $70 million that was allocated to NCI to lead efforts in cancer genomics as part of PMI for Oncology.

Data in the GDC, representing thousands of cancer patients and tumors, will be harmonized using standardized software algorithms so that they are accessible and broadly useful to any cancer researcher. The storage of raw genomic data in the GDC will also allow it to be reanalyzed as computational methods and genome annotations improve.  It is important to note that, in this era of heightened concern about data security and authorized access, the GDC has built important safeguards to ensure secure data storage and downloading.

The GDC is being built and managed by the University of Chicago Center for Data Intensive Science, in collaboration with the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, under an NCI contract with Leidos Biomedical Research, Frederick, Maryland.

The hope is that the GDC will form the basis for a comprehensive knowledge system for cancer. GDC researchers will be able to integrate genetic and clinical data, such as cancer imaging and histological data, with information on the molecular profiles of tumors as well as treatment response. From this perspective, the GDC would become an important resource for generating potentially actionable and life-changing information that ultimately could be used by doctors and their patients.

Additional Genomic Data Commons resources:

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