Georgetown Launches Open Access Brain Cancer Biomedical Database


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Subha Madhavan, PhD

Subha Madhavan, PhD

THE GEORGETOWN Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center has developed and released a cache of brain cancer biomedical data and made them freely available to researchers worldwide. The database, referred to as REMBRANDT (Repository for Molecular Brain Neoplasia Data), contains information on 671 adult patients collected from 14 contributing institutions and is detailed in Scientific Data, a Nature publication. Genomic data from 261 samples of glioblastoma, 170 samples of astrocytoma, 86 tissues of oligodendroglioma, and a number that are mixed or of an unknown subclass can be found in the REMBRANDT data set. Outcomes data include more than 13,000 data points.

The REMBRANDT data set was originally created at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and funded by the Glioma Molecular Diagnostic Initiative. The NCI transferred the data to Georgetown in 2015, and they are now physically located on the Georgetown Database of Cancer, a cancer data integration and sharing platform for hosting alongside other cancer studies.

The genomic data include the specific genes within individual tumors that are either overexpressed or underexpressed as well as the number of times that gene is repeated within a chromosome. Researchers can search their gene of interest, check their expression and amplification status, link that to clinical outcomes, as well as save their findings to their workspace on the Georgetown Database of Cancer site and share with their collaborators.

Additionally, the data collection interface is easy to use. “All a researcher needs is a computer and an Internet connection to log onto this interface to select, filter, analyze, and visualize the brain tumor data sets,” noted Subha Madhavan, PhD, Chief Data Scientist at Georgetown University Medical Center and Director of the Innovation Center for Biomedical Informatics at Georgetown Lombardi. ■


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