Pediatric Cancer Research Collective Awarded Millions by NIH

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A public-private research collective was awarded up to $14.8 million from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to launch a data resource center for cancer researchers around the world to accelerate the discovery of novel treatments for childhood tumors. Contingent on available funds, 5 years of funding will be provided by the NIH Common Fund Gabriella Miller Kids First Pediatric Research Program.

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As principal investigators, researchers at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia will lead the joint effort to build out the “Kids First” Data Resource Center. Children’s National Health System in Washington, DC, will spearhead specific projects, including the Open DIPG project, and as project ambassador will cultivate additional partnerships with public and private foundations and related research consortia to expand a growing trove of data about pediatric cancers and birth defects.

The NIH grant builds on previous funding that Congress provided to the NIH Common Fund to underwrite research into structural birth defects and pediatric cancers. In the first phase, X01 grantees received funding to sequence genetic data from thousands of patients and families affected by childhood cancer and structural birth defects.

First Project Funded

This new phase of funding is aimed at opening access to those genetic sequences to a broader group of investigators around the globe by making difficult-to-access data easily available on the cloud. The first project funded will be Open DIPG (diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma), run by Javad Nazarian, PhD, MSc, Principal Investigator in the Center for Genetic Medicine Research and Scientific Director of the Brain Tumor Institute at Children’s National—a single disease prototype demonstrating how the new data resource center would work for multiple ailments.

Dr. Nazarian predicts some of the early steps for the research consortium will be deciding nuts-and-bolts questions faced by such a start-up venture, such as the best methods to provide data access and corralling the resources needed to store massive amounts of data.

“One of the major challenges that the data resource center will face is to rapidly establish physical data storage space to store all of the data,” Dr. Nazarian explained. ■




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