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Cancer Data, All in One Place

US Vice President Joe Biden has announced the creation of a Genomic Data Commons to house genomic and clinical data from cancer patients, as GenomeWeb has reported.

This database is part of the Cancer Moonshot effort being led by Biden that seeks to cure cancer. Biden in particular has been critical of data that's siloed away where many researchers can't access it; he's argued that such barriers to data sharing are impeding research.

"The information is scattered among different government and academic repositories. Most of it is out of the reach of scientists," Biden said at the American Society of Clinical Oncology's annual meeting in Chicago, according to the Associated Press. "We're bringing it into one space."

In a statement, the National Institutes of Health says that the GDC will include data from large-scale National Cancer Institutes programs like the Cancer Genome Atlas and the Therapeutically Applicable Research to Generate Effective Treatments effort — more than two petabytes' worth of data. NIH adds that researchers from anywhere in the world who wish to share their data in the GDC may do so. The data in the commons, it notes, will be harmonized so that it is easily accessible for any researcher.

"These datasets will lead to a much deeper understanding of which therapies are most effective for individual cancer patients," NCI's Louis Staudt says in a statement. "With each new addition, the GDC will evolve into a smarter, more comprehensive knowledge system that will foster important discoveries in cancer research and increase the success of cancer treatment for patients.