Canada in global collaboration for genomic data sharing

by • November 1, 2017 • Feature Slider, Feature-Home, Featured-Slides-Home, Science Focus, Stem cellsComments Off on Canada in global collaboration for genomic data sharing741

Canada and Ontario are leading three initiatives in a recent international agreement that will see various research bodies share genomic information in order to advance precision medicine.

In October this year, the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH) struck formal collaborations with 15 international genomic data initiatives. The GA4GH is an international, non-profit alliance formed in 2013 to accelerate the potential of research and medicine to advance human health. The organization brings together over 500 leading organizations working in healthcare, research, patient advocacy, life science, and information technology.

Canada and Ontario will lead or help drive at least three of the initiatives, according to Ontario Genomics. The three initiatives are the Canadian Distributed Infrastructure for Genomics (CanDIG), International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC)-ARGO, and the Matchmaker Exchange.

CanDIG is a computational infrastructure for genomics analysis. Its aim is to become a hub for doctors and scientists working on genome sequencing. ICGC-ARGO links genomics data to clinical information, health and response to therapies. Matchmaker Exchange is a platform for rare disease gene discovery. It provides a systematic approach to rare disease gene discovery through a federated network of databases of genotypes and rate phenotypes.


The other initiatives are:

All of Us Research Program

Australian Genomics

BRCA Challenge




Genomics England

Human Cell Atlas

Monarch Initiative

NCI Genomic Data Commons


Variant Interpretation for Cancer Consortium

The initiatives will be 2017 Driver Projects, including Genomics England, Australian Genomics, and the U.S. All of Us Research Program.

The announcement, made at the GA4GH 5th Plenary Meeting, comes as part of the launch of GA4GH Connect: A 5-year Strategic Plan.

GA4GH Connect aims to drive uptake of standards and frameworks for genomic data sharing within the research and healthcare communities in order to enable responsible sharing of clinical-grade genomic data by 2022.

“To fully realize the promise of genomic medicine, we must operationalize a true learning health system,” said Peter Goodhand, president of the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research in Toronto, Canada, and GA4GH Executive Director. “This means creating tools and resources that allow the research and healthcare communities to learn from each other and share data and resources between the two.”


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