Seven Bridges Joins Cancer Moonshot Initiative with cloud platform to speed blood profiling research
Seven Bridges announces that its biomedical data analysis platform will be used by the Cancer Moonshot’s Blood Profiling Atlas project. The project is designed to accelerate the development and approval of simple, accurate, and reliable blood tests for cancer diagnosis and precision treatment.
To support this work, Seven Bridges is collaborating with the National Cancer Institute and the Food and Drug Administration, in addition to AstraZeneca, Celgene, Eli Lilly and Company, Epic Sciences/Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Foundation Medicine, Genentech, Guardant Health, Novartis, Personal Genome Diagnostics, Pfizer, Sage Bionetworks, ThermoFisher, University of Chicago, University of Michigan and the University of Southern California. More information is provided on the White House fact sheet announcing the project, which can be found here.
“We believe blood profiling has the potential to dramatically improve cancer care,” said Dr. Peter Kuhn, Professor at the University of Southern California and founding faculty of USC’s Michelson Center for Convergent Biosciences. “As a result, we’re working hard to help the project deliver on the Vice President’s goal of making a decade of progress in the field in just five years.”
Blood profiling could allow the detection of genetic or cellular changes associated with cancer using a blood test instead of an invasive tissue biopsy. These technologies provide new avenues for cancer detection, monitoring, and diagnosis. As new methods are refined, they may be used to analyze how well a specific treatment is working, to identify if a cancer in remission has come back, and even to detect cancer in non-symptomatic patients at the earliest stage. But because the research community needs to build consensus around how to most effectively collect and analyze the massive volumes of data involved, realizing the full potential of blood profiling will require greater collaboration and standardization among the many entities working on these studies.
Similar to The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), The Blood Profiling Atlas can serve as an open database for blood profiling data. As part of the project, Seven Bridges will develop the Blood Profiling Atlas Analysis Cloud, where researchers can securely access this data (slated to include sequencing data, clinical annotations, sample protocols and other metadata from dozens of studies), develop standardized methods for data collection and analysis, and work collaboratively to make discoveries. The company will leverage its deep expertise working with top pharmaceutical companies and some of the largest genomic projects in the world — including the National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Genomics Cloud (CGG) pilot, the Million Veteran Program and Genomics England’s 100,000 Genomes Project — to ensure that data collected for the Blood Profiling Atlas project can be easily, securely and cost effectively analyzed by a wide range of researchers.
“As we’ve seen through our work — be it with pharma or governments — the best science happens in teams,” said James Sietstra, President of Seven Bridges. “When more researchers can access datasets, run analyses, then share and reproduce their findings, we all make progress faster. We are thrilled to collaborate in this effort because it brings everyone to the same table, helping us all meet the ambitious goal set by Vice President Biden: to accelerate the pace of cancer research and discovery.”
Seven Bridges is contributing six months of engineering, bioinformatics and project management resources, as well as up to $500,000 in compute and storage resources to the project, and will also partner with the University of Chicago to ensure interoperability between its analytic platform and the Blood Profiling Atlas Data Commons.