St. Jude, DNAnexus and Microsoft to Create Global Genomic Database

Researchers exploring interactive genomic visualisations by using ProteinPaint within St. Jude Cloud. (Credit: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital)

Researchers around the globe can now access thousands of paediatric cancer genomic datasets, thanks to a new cloud-based initiative. 

The St. Jude Cloud — an online, data sharing and collaboration platform gives scientists the world largest public repository of paediatric cancer data, and is publicly available. 

The cloud, presented by Scott Newman who is group lead for bioinformatics analysis at the St. Jude Department of Computational Biology presented at the ACCR 2018, was developed as a collaboration between St. Jude, DNAnexus and Microsoft to provide accelerated data mining, analysis and visualisation capabilities in a secure could-based environment. 

“Sharing research and scientific discoveries is vital to advancing cures and saving lives, especially in rare diseases like pediatric cancer,” St. Jude CEO, James Downing, said in a statement. “St. Jude has shared data and resources since its founding, and collaboration with researchers across the world is at the core of our mission. St. Jude Cloud offers researchers access to genomics data and analysis tools that will drive faster progress toward cures for catastrophic diseases of childhood.”



The interactive data-sharing platform allows scientists to explore more than 5,000 whole-genome (WGS), 5,000 whole-exome (WES) and 1,200 RNA-Seq datasets from more than 5,000 pediatric cancer patients and survivors. By 2019, St. Jude expects to make 10,000 whole-genome sequences available on St. Jude Cloud.

Access to data is simple, fast and does not require downloading prior to exploration. Researchers may also upload their own data in a private, password-protected environment to explore using tools available on the platform.

A St. Jude scientist was able to use the St. Jude Cloud to replicate, in just a few days, experimental findings that originally took the research team more than two years to make. The original team discovered mutations connected to UV damage in a B-cell leukaemia in work that was recently published in Nature

“St. Jude Cloud is a powerful resource to drive global research and discovery forward,” Jinghui Zhang, PhD, chair of the St. Jude Department of Computational Biology and co-leader of the project, said. “Providing genomic sequencing data to the global research community and making complex computational analysis pipelines easily accessible will lead to progress in eradicating childhood cancer.

“St. Jude has been committed to sequencing and understanding pediatric cancer genomes for nearly a decade, and we will continue to generate and share data with the research community in the future.”