A new Web site, the Lung Genomics Research Consortium (LGRC)—an alliance of scientists at five US institutions—makes a broad range of genomic data on chronic lung disease available in a format specifically tailored for investigators’ needs. According to the scientists involved, in contrast to other genomic research Web sites, which typically upload massive amounts of information without much regard for how the data will be used, the new site was designed entirely with end users in mind.

The site provides access to data from a comprehensive genomic analysis of lung tissue samples from 400 patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or interstitial lung disease (ILD), as well as detailed clinical information about those patients. For each sample, the site includes genome-wide data on microarray DNA expression, microRNA expression, RNA sequencing expression, small RNA expression, SNP variation, DNA methylation, and a mix of whole-exome and whole-genome data.

The site is designed for use by quantitative scientists, and basic and clinical investigators. For quantitative scientists, the site makes it possible to aggregate genomic data into useful subsets. Basic scientists, meanwhile, gain access to a new tool for single-gene investigations. For translational scientists, the site provides access the LGRC’s expertise in clinical data analysis.

"We’ve created a system where people across the spectrum of lung disease research can gain access to raw data but do not need to be data-analysis experts themselves to make valuable discoveries," says Avrum Spira, MD, MSc, of Boston University. Mick Correll of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute adds that the project’s overall goal "is to allow our users to become ‘editors’ of genomic content."

The LGRC also geared a major portion of the website to a third constituency who, although not scientists themselves, are the ultimate supporters and beneficiaries of lung cancer research: the general public. The new website includes a public-outreach section that describes the mission, goals, and strategy of the LGRC in reader-friendly terms.

The consortium includes researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the University of Pittsburgh, Boston University, National Jewish Health, and the University of Colorado.

Source: Dana-Farber Cancer Institute