NIH grants $3.7M to Washington U for cancer genomics database


National Institutes of Health awarded $3.7 million to a team of St. Louis-based Washington University School of Medicine researchers to continue developing an open-source genomics database in support of cancer treatment.

The Clinical Interpretations of Variants in Cancer database is designed to help physicians match cancer mutations in patients' tumors with drugs that target those specific genetic errors. Founded by Washington University researchers Obi Griffith, PhD, and Malachi Griffith, PhD, CIViC has been referred to as a "Wikipedia for cancer genomics," according to the report.

Drs. Obi and Malachi Griffith built CIViC as an open-source online resource for queries relating to tumor mutations. The system is designed to allow anyone to create an account and contribute information to the database, which is also free for anyone to use.

"…[CIViC is a] resource that can help clinicians determine the specific type of cancer a patient has, the prognosis and, in some cases, identify a drug that has the potential to help the patient," said Dr. Obi Griffith, according to the report. "This new grant will help us continue to develop CIViC into an even better resource to make this type of personalized medicine more widely available."

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