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The Cancer Research Institute (CRI) iAtlas is an open access database, interactive web-based platform, and set of analytic tools for studying interactions between tumors and the immune microenvironment. These tools allow researchers to explore associations among a variety of immune characterizations as well as with genomic and clinical phenotypes. This scientific community resource opens up previously difficult-to-obtain insights to research organizations of all sizes by providing data resources and visualizations.

The CRI iAtlas was launched in 2018 with CRI support by Justin Guinney, Ph.D., of Sage Bionetworks, and Ilya Shmulevich, Ph.D., and Vesteinn Thorsson, Ph.D., of the Institute for Systems Biology.

The CRI iAtlas database is the first comprehensive effort in immuno-oncology to address the recent National Cancer Moonshot Blue Ribbon Panel recommendation to establish a pan-cancer immune atlas that would help catalyze new research in cancer immunotherapy. The initial version of CRI iAtlas is based on a TCGA data set comprising over 10,000 tumor samples and 33 tumor samples gathered as part of the Pan-Cancer Atlas initiative, the final phase of The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA). CRI continues to support its development and evolution as a central repository for crucial immunogenomics data.

Insights derived from CRI iAtlas data analysis will be critical to improving the effectiveness of current cancer immunotherapy treatments and developing new immune-based treatment strategies. It will help to accelerate discovery and improve patient outcomes by providing researchers greater access to genomics data to better understand the immunological characteristics of the tumor microenvironment and its potential impact on patient responses to immunotherapy.

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Impact

In the Cancer Genome Atlas Research Network analysis (April 2018), each tumor sample was scored for a variety of readouts for immune response, such as immune cell composition, adaptive cell receptor repertoire, neoantigen load, and expression of genes coding for immunomodulatory proteins. The CRI iAtlas allows researchers to explore these data readouts, and the relation between them in TCGA tumor types and in overarching immune subtypes identified in the study. Already, it has enabled the identification of six tumor subtypes that are associated with distinct immune profiles and differential patient outcomes—regardless of their tumor type. As the CRI iAtlas data trove is further mined, it will likely spur more basic insights and guide the development of improved immunotherapy strategies for patients with all types of cancer.

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Cancer Research Institute

The Cancer Research Institute (CRI), established in 1953, is the world’s leading nonprofit organization dedicated exclusively to transforming cancer patient care by advancing scientific efforts to develop new and effective immune system-based strategies to prevent, diagnose, treat, and eventually cure all cancers. Guided by a world-renowned Scientific Advisory Council that includes four Nobel laureates and 26 members of the National Academy of Sciences, CRI has invested $384 million in support of research conducted by immunologists and tumor immunologists at the world’s leading medical centers and universities, and has contributed to many of the key scientific advances that demonstrate the potential for immunotherapy to change the face of cancer treatment.

Sage Bionetworks

Sage Bionetworks is a nonprofit biomedical research organization, founded in 2009, with a vision to promote innovations in personalized medicine by enabling a community-based approach to scientific inquiries and discoveries. Sage Bionetworks strives to activate patients and to incentivize scientists, funders and researchers to work in fundamentally new ways in order to shape research, accelerate access to knowledge and transform human health. It is located on the campus of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, and is supported through a portfolio of philanthropic donations, competitive research grants, and commercial partnerships.

Institute for Systems Biology

The Institute for Systems Biology is a nonprofit biomedical research organization based in Seattle. It was founded in 2000 by systems biologist Leroy Hood, immunologist Alan Aderem, and protein chemist Reudi Aebersold. ISB was established on the belief that the conventional models for exploring and funding breakthrough science have not caught up with the real potential of what is possible today. ISB serves as the ultimate environment where scientific collaboration stretches across disciplines and across academic and industrial organizations, where our researchers have the intellectual freedom to challenge the status quo, and where grand visions for breakthroughs in human health inspire a collective drive to achieve the seemingly impossible. Our core values ensure that we always keep our focus on the big ideas that eventually will have the largest impact on human health. ISB is an affiliate of Providence St. Joseph Health, one of the largest not-for-profit health care systems in the United States.

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*Immunotherapy results may vary from patient to patient.

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