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It’s the latest hope offered to many patients at major cancer research centers: Let us sequence your tumor, and maybe we can match it to a drug that will beat back the malignancy. But the reality is that genomic analysis still only helps a small fraction of cancer patients. “More often than not, we don’t know what to do with the information,” says Charles Sawyers, a researcher at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) in New York City.

Now, several large U.S. and European academic medical centers are hoping to change that by pooling data on patients’ tumor genomes and their clinical outcomes. The project, announced today by the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) at a meeting in Boston, has a mouthful of an acronym: GENIE, which stands for Genomics, Evidence, Neoplasia, Information, Exchange. It is spearheaded by Sawyers, who helped develop the leukemia drug Gleevec, one of the most successful gene-targeted therapies.

Sawyers says that GENIE grew out of conversations with colleagues at other cancer centers who are amassing tumor genetic data at a “mind boggling”... see more