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UC Santa Cruz builds national data center for cancer genome research
Date:5/1/2012

SANTA CRUZ, CA--The emerging field of "personalized" or "precision" medicine holds great promise in the fight against cancer. If scientists can identify the genetic changes that drive each patient's cancer cells, they can use that information to develop targeted treatments. But achieving this goal will require massive amounts of genomic and clinical data and a sophisticated infrastructure to manage and analyze the data.

The University of California, Santa Cruz, has now completed a first step in building this infrastructure, said UC Santa Cruz bioinformatics expert David Haussler. Haussler's team has established the Cancer Genomics Hub (CGHub), a large-scale data repository and user portal for the National Cancer Institute's cancer genome research programs. CGHub's initial "beta" release is providing cancer researchers with efficient access to a large and rapidly growing store of valuable biomedical data. The project is funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) through a $10.3 million subcontract with SAIC-Frederick Inc., the prime contractor for the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research.

"By providing researchers with comprehensive catalogs of the key genomic changes in many major types and subtypes of cancer, these efforts will support the development of more effective ways to diagnose and treat cancer," said Haussler, a distinguished professor of biomolecular engineering in the Baskin School of Engineering at UCSC and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator.

In personalized care, doctors design treatments to target specific genetic changes found in a patient's cancer cells. Researchers are trying to catalog all the genetic abnormalities found in different types of cancers and find connections between specific genetic changes and how patients respond to different treatments. The scale and complexity of the information being gathered creates a critical challenge in the area of data management.

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Contact: Tim Stephens
stephens@ucsc.edu
831-459-2495
University of California - Santa Cruz
Source:Eurekalert

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