After years of work, researchers are releasing a massive dataset detailing the molecular makeup of tumor cells from more than 500 patients with an aggressive blood cancer called acute myeloid leukemia (AML). The dataset includes how hundreds of individual patients’ cells responded to a broad panel of drugs in laboratory screens.
It is the largest cancer dataset of its kind and could rapidly advance clinical trials evaluating potential AML treatments, says Brian Druker, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) who led the work with his colleague Jeffrey Tyner, also from OHSU.
Using a new online data viewer, researchers can now find out in minutes what kinds of targeted therapies are most effective against specific subsets of AML cells. “People can get online, search our database, and very quickly get answers to ‘Is this a good drug?’ or ‘Is there a patient population my drug can work in?'” Druker says. He and colleagues report the work October 17, 2018, in the journal Nature.
About 20,000 people are diagnosed with AML every year in the U.S. The cancer begins in the blood-forming cells of the bone marrow and is most commonly diagnosed in older adults. AML has the poorest prognosis of any blood cancer.