The Gastric Cancer Foundation has committed $257,856 to fund a transformative expansion of the Gastric Cancer Registry in 2021. The funding will cover the first phase of the registry expansion, which will ultimately house 500 gastric cancer samples. It will allow the GCR research team to sequence the first tranche of samples and add the genomic data to the recently launched Genome Explorer, a secure, HIPAA-compliant web portal that allows scientists to perform genomic analyses and to map associations between genetic abnormalities and patient symptoms.
“I am incredibly honored to receive support from the Gastric Cancer Foundation to expand the Gastric Cancer Registry Genome Explorer,” says GCR principal investigator, Dr. Hanlee Ji. “This additional funding enables the investigations of hundreds of tumor samples and will allow my team to build a clinical genomic database, which will be available for use by the entire biomedical research community. This resource will help in our fight against gastric cancer.”
This phase will incorporate 200 gastric tumor samples collected by the Intermountain Healthcare Biorepository (IMH-BR). The first iteration of the Genome Explorer, which was built using samples from patients around the world who volunteered to participate in the GCR, contains data on mutations, chromosomal copy number variations, and gene expression. Ji’s team is working on a second version, which will include clinical information, as well as the types of types of immune-infiltrating cells and microbes found in the tumors.
And the GCR will only grow from there. Dr. Ji also has an agreement with the MD Anderson Cancer Center, which will provide additional gastric tumor samples to power phase two of the expansion. Additional funding will be required for this second major phase of the expansion.
Dr. Ji’s team has been using next generation sequencing and deep computational analysis to generate datasets from tumor samples, in the process uncovering unique characteristics of gastric cancer. It’s invaluable information that scientists working on cures for gastric cancer will be able to use to power their search for new cures.
“The Gastric Cancer Registry is one of the primary initiatives to help the global research community make forward progress to cure stomach cancer,” says GCF board chair Paul Gottsegen. “Our foundation is proudly supporting this important expansion of the registry. Dr Ji and his team at Stanford have continued to break new ground, and the expansion of the registry will make their continued impact even greater over time.”
The GCR was launched by the Gastric Cancer Foundation with the generosity of Diane and Ronald Weintraub, in memory of their beloved daughter Beth Weintraub Schoenfeld.