Learn how GA4GH helps expand responsible genomic data use to benefit human health.
Learn how GA4GH helps expand responsible genomic data use to benefit human health.
Our Strategic Road Map defines strategies, standards, and policy frameworks to support responsible global use of genomic and related health data.
Discover how a meeting of 50 leaders in genomics and medicine led to an alliance uniting more than 5,000 individuals and organisations to benefit human health.
GA4GH Inc. is a not-for-profit organisation that supports the global GA4GH community.
To guide our collaborative, globe-spanning alliance, GA4GH relies on a Standards Steering Committee and an Executive Committee.
The Funders Forum brings together organisations that offer both financial support and strategic guidance.
The EDI Advisory Group responds to issues raised in the GA4GH community, finding equitable, inclusive ways to build products that benefit diverse groups.
Distributed across four Host Institutions, our staff team supports the mission and operations of GA4GH.
Curious who we are? Meet the people and organisations across six continents who make up GA4GH.
More than 500 organisations connected to genomics — in healthcare, research, patient advocacy, industry, and beyond — have signed onto the mission and vision of GA4GH as Organisational Members.
These core Organisational Members are genomic data initiatives that have committed resources to guide GA4GH work and pilot our products.
This subset of Organisational Members whose networks or infrastructure align with GA4GH priorities has made a long-term commitment to engaging with our community.
Local and national organisations assign experts to spend at least 30% of their time building GA4GH products.
Anyone working in genomics and related fields is invited to participate in our inclusive community by creating and using new products.
Wondering what GA4GH does? Learn how we find and overcome challenges to expanding responsible genomic data use for the benefit of human health.
Study Groups define needs. Participants survey the landscape of the genomics and health community and determine whether GA4GH can help.
Work Streams create products. Community members join together to develop technical standards, policy frameworks, and policy tools that overcome hurdles to international genomic data use.
GIF solves problems. Organisations in the forum pilot GA4GH products in real-world situations. Along the way, they troubleshoot products, suggest updates, and flag additional needs.
NIF finds challenges and opportunities in genomics at a global scale. National programmes meet to share best practices, avoid incompatabilities, and help translate genomics into benefits for human health.
Communities of Interest find challenges and opportunities in areas such as rare disease, cancer, and infectious disease. Participants pinpoint real-world problems that would benefit from broad data use.
See all our products — always free and open-source. Do you work on cloud genomics, data discovery, user access, data security or regulatory policy and ethics? Need to represent genomic, phenotypic, or clinical data? We’ve got a solution for you.
All GA4GH standards, frameworks, and tools follow the Product Development and Approval Process before being officially adopted.
Learn how other organisations have implemented GA4GH products to solve real-world problems.
Help us transform the future of genomic data use! See how GA4GH can benefit you — whether you’re using our products, writing our standards, subscribing to a newsletter, or more.
Help create new global standards and frameworks for responsible genomic data use.
Align your organisation with the GA4GH mission and vision.
Solve your real-world data problems with support from this valuable network of global institutions.
Work with like-minded groups committed to better data use in areas like rare disease, cancer, and infectious disease.
Share your thoughts on all GA4GH products currently open for public comment.
Solve real problems by aligning your organisation with the world’s genomics standards. We offer software dvelopers both customisable and out-of-the-box solutions to help you get started.
Learn more about upcoming GA4GH events. See reports and recordings from our past events.
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Read news, stories, and insights from the forefront of genomic and clinical data use.
Attend an upcoming GA4GH event, or view meeting reports from past events.
See new projects, updates, and calls for support from the Work Streams.
Read academic papers coauthored by GA4GH contributors.
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5 May 2016
A recent paper from the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH) highlights the potential of “big data” to unlock the secrets inside cancer cells and enable the development of more effective personalised treatments.
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND — A recent paper from the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH) highlights the potential of “big data” to unlock the secrets inside cancer cells and enable the development of more effective personalised treatments. Published in the journal Nature Medicine, the paper notes that sharing genetic information from millions of cancer patients around the world could be key to revolutionising cancer prevention and care.
Established in 2013 to create a common framework for the responsible, voluntary and secure sharing of patients’ clinical and genomic data, GA4GH is a partnership between scientists, clinicians, patients and the IT and Life Sciences industries involving over 400 organisations in over 40 countries. The Cancer Task Team of its Clinical Working Group has published the paper as a blueprint to enable the sharing of patient data to improve patient outcomes.
“The term ‘big data’ refers to huge amounts of information that can be analysed by high performance computers to reveal patterns, trends and associations. In medical terms, this includes clinical and genomic data that is derived from patients during, for example, diagnostic testing and treatment,” said co-senior author Mark Lawler, a professor at Queen’s University in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and Co-Chair of the Cancer Task Team. “Cancer is an incredibly complex disease, and it is constantly changing. Each person’s cancer is different. The key to staying ahead in the fight against cancer is to properly understand how the disease evolves.”
Co-senior author Lillian Siu of Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and the University of Toronto in Canada, said: “With the development of new technologies that have enabled the rapid and affordable profiling of cancer tumours, there has been an explosion of clinical and genomic data. Hospitals, laboratories and research facilities around the world hold huge amounts of this data from cancer patients. But this information is currently held in isolated ‘silos’ that don’t talk to each other. It is this lack of information sharing that threatens the advancement of tailored patient care.”
In order to identify patterns between groups of patients, whose information currently resides in different databases and institutions, genetic and clinical information must be shared across existing silos. The Cancer Task Team, which also includes experts from Australia, Belgium, France, Korea, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and the US, aims to create a type of ‘cancer genomic internet’ — a searchable cancer database that allows doctors to match patients from different parts of the world with suitable clinical trials.
This genetic matchmaking approach would for the development of personalised treatments for each individual’s cancer, precisely targeting rogue cells and improving outcomes for patients. But clinical and genomic data sharing presents logistical, technical, and ethical challenges. The present study highlights these challenges and proposes potential solutions to allow the sharing of data in a timely, responsible and effective manner. As more researchers around the globe adopt this blueprint, a unified global approach to unlocking the value of data for enhanced patient care will begin to emerge. The paper, entitled “Facilitating a culture of responsible and effective sharing of cancer genome data,” is published in Nature Medicine, Volume 22, Number 5, May 2016.
The Global Alliance for Genomics and Health is an international, nonprofit alliance formed to accelerate the potential of genomic medicine to advance human health. Bringing together over 350 leading organizations working in healthcare, research, disease and patient advocacy, life science, and information technology, GA4GH Members are working together to create a common framework of tools, methods, and harmonized approaches and supporting demonstration projects to enable the responsible, voluntary, and secure sharing of genomic and clinical data.