Clinical OMICS

MAY-JUN 2018

Healthcare magazine for research scientists, labs, pathologists, hospitals, cancer centers, physicians and biopharma companies providing news articles, expert interviews and videos about molecular diagnostics in precision medicine

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6 Clinical OMICs May/June 2018 News Free for All St. Jude Cloud Makes its Pediatric Cancer Genomics Data Free for the Asking St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, home of the largest public repository of pediatric cancer genomics data in the world, is now offering it free of charge to any researcher who wants to use it—along with tools it has designed to aid in cancer research. St. Jude Cloud launched April 16 aided by collabora- tors Microsoft's Azure cloud and plat- form provider DNAnexus. The St. Jude Cloud will allow researchers to conduct their own novel research with their own data, or leveraging St. Jude's data, and will allows investigators to collaborate on the cloud, without having to incur the expense of building an infrastructure capable of handling the vast amount of complex data inherent in genomic research, according to Jinghui Zhang, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Com- putational Biology at St. Jude Children's Hospital. On the first day of the launch, more than 2,000 researchers world- wide signed up to use the service, from countries including Australia, China, France, Germany, and the U.S., she said. St. Jude Cloud should take pediatric cancer research—and even adult cancer research—to a whole new level, Zhang said. Leveraging cloud computing is important because it keeps all the data in one place, without different copies of the data being downloaded by researchers all over the world. In addition to saving infrastructure expenses for researchers, it also will save time. Without the use of the cloud, download- ing all of St. Jude's data takes up to a month, she said. Several scientists have told Zhang since the launch that they want to apply St. Jude's tools to analyze data in ways that St. Jude hasn't yet. "That's exactly what we want," she said. "We're thrilled to see it." Zhang, a computational biologist who heads the St. Jude Cloud project, has spent her career conducting integrative analysis of large-scale, multi-dimensional genomic data to help understand and cure diseases like rare childhood can- cer. She said St. Jude's dream for the project is that other organizations may follow suit and be willing to share their data freely, as well. Rare diseases, in particular, need more data to find cures. A by-product of the work will be that discoveries made regarding pediatric cancer usually lead to findings that have implications on treating adult cancer, she said. St. Jude wants its data and tools to attract a variety of experts, not just cancer researchers, but those outside of the field, such as computational analysts, who will approach the research from different perspectives. By Diana Manos Jinghui Zhang, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Computational Biology at St. Jude will also head St. Jude Cloud. Zhang said she hopes other organizations will follow the St. Jude lead and make other large genomic data sets freely available to any researchers that want to use them. "What makes genomics data useful is to mix genomic and phenotypic data. This can only really be done on the cloud right now." —Richard Daly, CEO, DNAnexus

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