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The Genomic Data Commons Launches

, by Louis M. Staudt, M.D., Ph.D.

The NCI Genomic Data Commons

The NCI Genomic Data Commons is housed at the University of Chicago Kenwood Data Center

Credit: University of Chicago

Making genomic and clinical data about cancer accessible to the cancer research community is imperative for our success in applying precision medicine to clinical oncology. The NCI Genomic Data Commons (GDC), released today, brings us a step closer to realizing this goal.

By analyzing large sets of shared data with the cutting-edge bioinformatics tools, we can improve our ability discover the genomic changes that drive rare cancers, puzzle out the complexity of tumor growth and drug resistance, and identify robust targets for therapy. The GDC is a data sharing platform to facilitate these types of discoveries. The GDC initially contains NCI-generated datasets including some of the most comprehensive cancer genomic datasets in the world, The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), and the pediatric equivalent, TARGET.

But the research community needs more than just a data repository. The GDC that opened its doors today is the foundation for an expandable knowledge system that will continually improve by enabling researchers to submit data to the GDC, and by encouraging computational innovators to fashion newer and better bioinformatics tools for analyzing the data. Over time, the GDC will provide increasing explanatory power as more data, and expert analyses of the data, are added.

The GDC is now open to the public. For the first time, NCI-generated datasets like TCGA are widely available on the GDC Data Portal as harmonized data that can be compared across data sets, and researchers may begin to submit their data using the GDC Data Submission Portal. The foundation is there, now it is up to us to add data and analysis to this growing knowledge system, and to use these insights to improve the clinical care of cancer patients.

Please visit the Genomic Data Commons for cancer genomic and clinical data access, submission, and analysis. We want to provide the best user experience and the highest quality data for cancer research, so let us know what you think we can improve upon at By combining our expertise, and our data, we can make a better future for patients with cancer.

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