The aim of our research is to improve cancer treatments by discovering therapeutic biomarkers that can be used to identify patients most likely to respond to anticancer drug. Targeted molecular therapeutics disrupting intracellular signaling pathways are increasingly used for the treatment of cancer. These strategies are based on our understanding of the genes that are causally implicated in cancer and clinical observations that alterations in cancer genomes strongly influence patient response to drugs. Moreover, many cancer drugs have not been linked with specific genetic events that may specify their optimal therapeutic effectiveness. We are performing a large-scale drug screen incorporating detailed genomic analyses to systematically identify drug response biomarkers. This information can be used to inform the optimal clinical application of cancer drugs, as well as having significant effects on the design, cost and ultimate success of new cancer drug development.

The Genomics of Drug Sensitivity in Cancer Project is part of a Wellcome funded collaboration between The Cancer Genome Project at the Wellcome Sanger Institute (UK) and the Center for Molecular Therapeutics, Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center (USA). This collaboration integrates the expertise at both sites toward the goal of identifying cancer biomarkers that can be used to identify genetically defined subsets of patients most likely to respond to cancer therapies.

As part of this collaboration, we are screening >1000 genetically characterised human cancer cell lines with a wide range of anti-cancer therapeutics. These compounds include cytotoxic chemotherapeutics as well as targeted therapeutics from commercial sources, academic collaborators, and from the biotech and pharmaceutical industries. The sensitivity patterns of the cell lines are correlated with extensive genomic data to identify genetic features that are predictive of sensitivity. This large collection of cell lines enables us to capture much of the genomic heterogeneity that underlies human cancer, and which appears to play a critical role in determining the variable response of patients to treatment with specific agents. Our drug sensitivity data and genetic correlations are freely available through our website as a resource to the academic and medical communities.

Citing the GDSC resource

When citing our database please refer to our recent publication Genomics of Drug Sensitivity in Cancer (GDSC): a resource for therapeutic biomarker discovery in cancer cells. (Nucl. Acids Res.2013 Database issue. PMID:23180760) Please include reference to the data version used for your analysis.

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