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Novartis catalogues cancer with open access encyclopaedia

Teams up with Broad Institute in the US on genetic and molecular information resource

Novartis has teamed up with the Broad Institute in the US to launch a comprehensive encyclopaedia of genetic and molecular information on almost 1,000 human cancer cell lines, which it hopes will "improve the design of cancer trials and advance cancer research".

The Cancer Cell Line Encyclopaedia (CCLE) - published today in Nature - will be placed into the public domain so that scientists "in industry and academia will use these data to discover new drug targets, to evaluate current therapies, and to facilitate treatment for their patients with cancer", said Mark Fishman, president of the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (NIBR).

"Cancer is a genetic disease. Cell lines reflect the genetic disturbances that drive cancers. Probing cell lines with medicines targeted at specific pathways, as done for the Cancer Cell Line Encyclopedia, provides a powerful tool for design of cancer treatment," he added.

The cell lines were acquired from commercial vendors in the U.S., Europe, Japan and Korea and represent a diverse picture of cancer as a disease as they include many subtypes of both common and rare forms of cancer.

Researchers can use the cell lines to build predictive models of the types of patients that will respond to a particular drug class.

The genetic and molecular profiling data from the cell lines is freely available to the scientific community here.

30th March 2012

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