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CHOP, Seven Bridges form Cavatica for pediatric cancer genomics data

Friday, February 26, 2016

The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), the lead operations center for the Childhood Brain Tumor Tissue Consortium (CBTTC), and Seven Bridges, a biomedical data analysis company, have announced the joint development of Cavatica, a new cloud-based environment for securely storing, sharing and analyzing large volumes of pediatric cancer patient genomics data. Cavatica will support CHOP’s commitment to the White House Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI) through the newly launched Center for Data Driven Discovery in Biomedicine (D3b), located at CHOP. 

“We need radically new ways to empower pediatric researchers around the world to share their data and collaborate in discovery,” said Adam Resnick, Ph.D., an expert in brain tumors and the Center’s founding director. “Our work with Seven Bridges on Cavatica supports healthcare data entrepreneurship and helps everyone, including patients, participate in cancer research.”

“This is exactly the kind of innovation that will help the entire pediatric research community do its part for the White House and President Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative,” added Dr. Resnick.

“The ‘big data’ genomics revolution presents us with unprecedented opportunities to improve treatments for pediatric brain tumors, which are the leading cause of disease-related death in children,” said Phillip Storm, M.D., division chief of Neurosurgery at CHOP and the Center’s co-director.

CHOP’s commitment to PMI is the product of collaborative efforts in pediatric cancer research that include a national network of more than 15 leading hospitals, numerous industry partners, foundations, patients and their families. The Cavatica system is central to these efforts, integrating a cloud-based, open infrastructure with big data analytics so that researchers can leverage a growing body of curated pediatric genomic data to make discoveries that will help doctors more precisely match cancer therapies to individual children.

Cavatica will support the data sharing and large-volume genomic analyses required to empower discovery efforts for two integrated consortia.

The Children’s Brain Tumor Tissue Consortium (CBTTC) is a collaborative multi-institutional research program dedicated to the study of childhood brain tumors. Member institutions empower patient participation in research through a shared, highly annotated biorepository.

The Pacific Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Consortium (PNOC) has operations center at the University of California San Francisco. PNOC is a network of 15 children’s hospitals that conducts advanced, novel clinical trials of new therapies for children with brain tumors. PNOC supported trials focus on precision medicine approaches that leverage big data and match therapies to a patient’s specific tumor makeup to maximize their effectiveness.

“It’s exactly this type of cooperation that cross cuts across academic, commercial and government efforts that will transform the clinical trial landscape for pediatric precision medicine,” said Sabine Muller M.D., Ph.D., PNOC Project Leader UCSF.

Cavatica is built with the same vision of data sharing and technology that powers the National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Genomics Cloud pilot, which is the first to give cancer researchers secure and immediate access to one of the world’s largest genomic datasets—The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA)—and the computational resources required to analyze it. In alignment with the President’s PMI, the Cavatica initiative aims to support data access on behalf of pediatric precision medicine and to address some of the technical hurdles involved in sharing and analyzing it.

“Nothing excites us more than breaking down barriers to improving care for kids,” said James Sietstra, president of Seven Bridges. “At the end of the day, Cavatica will help patients, hospitals, and large consortia work together for ever-faster precision medicine advances.”

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