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VICC takes leading role in international cancer database project

Nov. 7, 2019, 10:31 AM


by Tom Wilemon

Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (VICC) is one of three institutions launching the first phase of a collaboration to advance precision oncology through the creation of a clinico-genomic dataset with an international reach.

VICC, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center are participating in the Project GENIE (Genomics Evidence Neoplasia Information Exchange) Biopharma Consortium, a collaboration between the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and nine biopharmaceutical companies. The goal is to augment over the next five years the GENIE database, a publicly accessible international cancer registry assembled through data sharing between 19 of the world’s leading cancer centers.

The registry already contains clinical-grade cancer genomic sequencing data from nearly 71,000 deidentified patients. During the first phase of the collaboration, VICC and the two other research institutions will detail the cancer journeys beyond genomic sequencing by also providing information on treatment histories and patient outcomes. This information will be linked to nearly 8,000 bladder, breast, colorectal, lung, pancreatic and prostate cancer patients treated at Vanderbilt-Ingram, Dana-Farber and Memorial Sloan Kettering.

“The initial focus of GENIE was on quantity and not necessarily the full story of what was happening to patients,” said Jeremy Warner, MD, MS, medical director of the Vanderbilt Cancer Registry and associate professor of Medicine and Biomedical Informatics. “That’s what we are going to be adding, the phenotype side of the genotype-phenotype coin.”

In years three through five, the data collection will be expanded to as many cancer types as possible from all the participating institutions.

“To do that, there’s only so much individual people working with records can do,” Warner said. “It takes a lot of money and a fair amount of time. We are hoping to contribute our biomedical informatics expertise at Vanderbilt and seek ways to basically accelerate the process of getting the deidentified information directly out of electronic health records or other sources to basically fill out the story and automate the process as fast as we can. It’s the only realistic way to get to 50,000 or 100,000 or more patients with full cancer histories.”

The $36 million project by the AACR is supported by funding from Amgen Inc., AstraZeneca, Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals Inc., Boehringer Ingelheim, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, Genentech (member of the Roche Group), Janssen Research & Development LLC, Merck and Novartis.

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