Press Release Date: 
10/17/2016

Collaboration with The Children's Brain Tumor Tissue Consortium, the Pacific Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Consortium, and Seven Bridges is Part of White House Precision Medicine Initiative

Today the Children's Brain Tumor Tissue Consortium (CBTTC), whose Operations Center is located at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and the Pacific Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Consortium (PNOC) have committed to share their extensive data collection on rare pediatric diseases and pediatric cancer with the broader medical research community through CAVATICA, a cloud-based biomedical data analysis platform created in partnership with Seven Bridges.  CAVATICA, which also launches out of beta today, will enable researchers to collaboratively access, share and rapidly analyze data collected about diseases impacting children, including pediatric cancers, congenital disorders and rare diseases such as epilepsy and autism.

By making large volumes of genomic and other types of data from multiple diseases available, within a system researchers can use to share and analyze it, CAVATICA is answering the Cancer Moonshot's call to de-silo data and make it more useful to a wide range of researchers, so that faster progress can be made to fight pediatric cancer and other childhood diseases.

"CAVATICA gives us an unprecedented opportunity to research a number of childhood diseases, ranging from pediatric brain tumors that are the leading cause of disease-related death in children to rare pediatric disorders that get limited attention and resources," said Adam Resnick, Ph.D., an expert in brain tumors and Director of the Center for Data-Driven Discovery in Biomedicine at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).

The CBTTC and PNOC collectively represent more than 20 pediatric hospitals committed to propelling precision medicine forward through real-time contribution of data to CAVATICA, with the aim of breaking down barriers that inhibit research collaboration and driving discoveries that will lead to faster treatments and cures. CAVATICA marks the first time this data will be available in the cloud, allowing researchers to compare data on pediatric brain tumors to data from other rare diseases and cancers.  Making all this data available to analyze and share in a single environment means that researchers can move beyond simply focusing on one disease and collaboratively analyze data related to a number of rare diseases, cancers, and across ages in order to identify common causes and shared mechanisms that may lead to new or improved treatments.

"With all this data in a single environment for the first time, researchers can analyze it to better understand how these diseases intersect, and make discoveries that they might not have been able to before. In this way, we will speed progress toward identifying their causes and potential treatments," said Rishi Lulla, M.D., Executive Chair of the Children's Brain Tumor Tissue Consortium and a pediatric neuro-oncologist at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago.

"CAVATICA addresses the challenges researchers fighting pediatric diseases face obtaining the data and analysis tools they need to do their work," said Brandi Davis-Dusenbery, Ph.D., SVP of Science and Product at Seven Bridges. "By applying the experience we've gained supporting some of the largest genomics research projects in the world, we hope to help the pediatric research community and the White House's Cancer Moonshot push forward the boundaries of what's possible and discover novel treatments for diseases that impact children and their families." 

"We've been piloting CAVATICA during the past several months and the importance of de-siloing data became quickly apparent," said Sabine Mueller, M.D., Ph.D., MAS and pediatric neuro-oncologist and researcher at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and project leader of the Pacific Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Consortium (PNOC). "CAVATICA represents an opportunity to empower the rare disease researcher to give those children with rare and deadly pediatric diseases a chance to benefit from the data held by researchers around the world."

"This is so important for all of us impacted by pediatric cancers and working in the field," added Mueller. "We know that pediatric cancers are different than adult cancers and that new therapies must be designed specifically for children based on their disease's own molecular profile.  So CAVATICA, for the first time, is providing the opportunity for cancer researchers to work at the intersection of those very disparate diseases, and to speed the discovery of treatments and cures."

CAVATICA will interoperate with the Genomic Data Commons and other NIH data repositories, to connect more data than ever before. Seven Bridges and its partners on the CAVATICA consortium call on scientists, patients and their families around the globe to join in the work of accelerating the discovery of treatments for children by joining at cavatica.org/moonshot.

About CBTTC

The Children's Brain Tumor Tissue Consortium (CBTTC) is a collaborative, multi-institutional research program dedicated to the study and treatment of childhood brain tumors and has its operations center located at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. The CBTTC supports the research of new prognostic biomarkers and therapies for children with pediatric brain tumors. The CBTTC consists of ten primary member institutions including: Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Seattle Children's, The Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago) Benioff Children's Hospital (UCSF), Stanford University/Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, Meyer Children's Hospital Florence Italy, Cancer Institute of New Jersey (Rutgers), Weill Cornell Medicine Pediatric Brain and Spine Center Children's National Health System.

About PNOC

The Pacific Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Consortium (PNOC) was formed to provide children with brain tumors access to innovative treatments. What sets us apart is that we pursue clinical strategies that are based on the molecular and genetic make-up of each tumor. We test therapies aimed at interfering with specific cellular pathways or mutations after confirming that a patient's tumor has those characteristics, sparing patients therapy that is not optimized for their tumor type.

The teams at each of PNOC's 15 participating hospitals are made up of specialists in different areas of pediatric brain tumor treatment – such as oncology, neurosurgery, and radiation therapy – who combine their expertise to optimize care for each patient. The teams also include nurses, social workers, and hospital staff with an in-depth understanding of the needs of families and children suffering from brain tumors. Finally, each site has scientists actively engaged in laboratory research on pediatric tumor biology who work with clinicians to turn their findings into therapies.

Contact:
Adam Resnick, Ph.D.
The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
301 728 4653
resnick@email.chop.edu