Defeating Childhood Cancer with Big Data

UC Santa Cruz’s Stuart Lab (Systems Biology Group) developed the TumorMap visualization tool. Read more:  


It all started with Kelvin…

Diagnosed with cancer when he was only 8, Kelvin helped inspire the Treehouse Childhood Cancer Initiative. Treehouse compares genomic data from an individual patient’s tumor against large datasets, an area for which the UC Santa Cruz Genomics Institute is recognized worldwide. Treehouse researchers use TumorMap, the visualization tool shown here, to plot genomic data from thousands of tumors as dots. Clusters of dots reveal molecular-level similarities among individual patients’ cancers. Similarities between adult and pediatric tumors point doctors to treatments that might be also effective for children’s cancers.

We compared Kelvin’s tumor to thousands of others, and discovered that his rare sarcoma had molecular features like some adult lung cancers. This analysis helped Kelvin’s doctor to identify a treatment that his doctors credit with extending his life for two years.

In line with the UC Santa Cruz Genomics Institute’s commitment to share data and to further research everywhere, this data is publicly available for all to use.