A new data sharing agreement between the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and Foundation Medicine, Inc. (FMI), promises major advances in the developing area of personalized medicine.1

The Genomic Data Commons (GDC), recently launched by the NCI, relies on large amounts of data sharing to better target therapies to individual patients for whom specific genomic changes are identified. If physicians use this data system to make more informed decisions about which patients are more likely to respond to which treatments, unnecessary therapies can be prevented and appropriate therapies are more likely to be assigned.

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The GDC helps physicians to share the genomic profiles of their patients with other health professionals; such sharing is foundational to the Cancer Moonshot plan and the President’s Precision Medicine Initiative.

The new data sharing agreement will more than double patient data currently in the GDC, from 14,500 to 32,500. All patient data is de-identified to ensure that the information provided is purely biological, and cannot be traced to any individual.

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The data can be used only by approved researchers, who must show that they intend to use the genomic data only for research and academic purposes.


  1. Significant expansion of data available in the Genomic Data Commons [news release]. Rockville, MD: National Cancer Institute Press Office; June 29, 2016. http://www.cancer.gov/news-events/press-releases/2016/gdc-data-expansion-fmi?cid=eb_govdel. Accessed June 29, 2016.