St. Jude Cloud to accelerate scientific discoveries through access to real-time clinical genome sequencing data

Ground-breaking initiative enables frequent release of high-quality clinical genome sequencing data direct from the clinic to the cloud

Memphis, Tennessee, May 28, 2019

Clay McLeod and Scott Newman, Ph.D., of the St. Jude Computational Biology Department.

Clay McLeod and Scott Newman, Ph.D., of the St. Jude Computational Biology Department. 

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital today announced clinical genome sequencing data will be available in real-time on St. Jude Cloud, the world’s largest public repository of pediatric genomics data. The first-of-its-kind initiative will provide researchers with high-quality whole-genome, exome and transcriptome data from consenting St. Jude patients. Data will be uploaded to the cloud in a private, secure environment on a monthly basis.

St. Jude is the first institution to release prospective, comprehensive clinical whole-genome sequencing data. Traditionally, such data is collected retrospectively and released following the publication of research. In addition, the data are available to researchers and clinicians at no cost for use in their own research.

Data from 685 prospective subjects is available today with data from an additional 273 subjects made available in the next monthly data release in July. It is anticipated data from approximately 500 subjects will be made available every year for the foreseeable future. Because the data will be stored in St. Jude Cloud, researchers can explore the data without having to download hundreds of terabytes of data.

“Access to high-quality clinical genomic data will help further research in precision medicine for childhood cancer and other diseases,” said Jinghui Zhang, Ph.D., chair of the St. Jude Department of Computational Biology. “By releasing whole-genome sequencing data from St. Jude in the cloud, St. Jude offers researchers and clinicians around the world the opportunity to explore the data and make novel discoveries leading to more cures faster.”

St. Jude incorporates whole-genome sequencing into clinical genomic testing of each patient who agrees to the analysis. A recent St. Jude study published in Nature Communications showed whole-genome sequencing assisted in identifying additional cancer-driving mutations in almost half of patients. Whole-genome sequencing offers the most comprehensive assessment of differences between patients’ normal and cancer genomes, but the method is not currently in widespread clinical use.

“Sharing discoveries freely with doctors and researchers has always been a part of our mission at St. Jude,” Dr. Zhang said. “Our hope is that by sharing our clinical genetic data in real time, we can make progress on cancer and other rare diseases, whether that discovery is made at St. Jude or elsewhere.”

About St. Jude Cloud

Secure sharing and collaborative analysis of huge, immobile data sets are essential in the quest to discover cures for pediatric cancer and other rare diseases. St. Jude Cloud is the world’s largest repository of pediatric genomics data and offers a suite of unique analysis tools and visualizations. It was developed by scientists at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in collaboration with technology industry leaders Microsoft and DNAnexus.

Since St. Jude Cloud launched in 2018, more than 450 institutions across 16 countries have used St. Jude data in their research. St. Jude Cloud now hosts more than 10,000 whole genomes from pediatric cancer and other childhood catastrophic diseases.

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats and cures childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. It is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children. Treatments developed at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20 percent to 80 percent since the hospital opened more than 50 years ago. St. Jude freely shares the breakthroughs it makes, and every child saved at St. Jude means doctors and scientists worldwide can use that knowledge to save thousands more children. Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing and food — because all a family should worry about is helping their child live. To learn more, visit stjude.org or follow St. Jude on social media at @stjuderesearch.