St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, UK have agreed to a full exchange of cancer mutation data to support the discovery and understanding of genetic mutations causing cancers.
The agreement will provide regular updates and exchanges of data between both institutions to ensure the best support for research in all areas of cancer, and will be freely available to researchers in all areas of science.
"We want this to be the definitive resource for genomic information for the pediatric cancer community," said Jinghui Zhang, Ph.D., chair of the department of Computational Biology at St. Jude. "This collaboration will allow us to share data across two institutions to better understand, using our combined knowledge, what causes cancer."
Each institution has its own database, but the new partnership will allow for a more robust repository of information. ProteinPaint, developed by St. Jude researchers, provides a better way to visualize pediatric mutations in the context of human genes and proteins. The goal is for scientists to use genomic data to make more accurate diagnoses, learn how different DNA changes contribute to cancer and develop precision therapies tailored for the genetic makeup of a patient's cancer.
The Catalogue of Somatic Mutations in Cancer, the database of cancer mutations at the Sanger Institute, UK, has more than 4.1 million mutations. COSMIC is designed to store and display somatic mutation information and related details and contains information relating to human cancers.
"It's very exciting to be working with St. Jude to help characterize the causes of childhood cancer," said Dr. Simon Forbes, head of COSMIC at the Sanger Institute. "Many of our users are supporting diagnostic and pharmaceutical discovery and in this way we hope to support future improvements for these young patients."