New partnership for pathology-genomics research announced by National Pathology Imaging Co-operative and Genomics England

A new initiative, the Genomics Pathology Imaging Collection (GPIC) to accelerate cancer research has launched. This important joint initiative by the National Pathology Imaging Co-operative (NPIC) and Genomics England will combine digital pathology and genomic data to create a unique resource for cancer researchers.

A summary article published in Nature Medicine outlines how this collaboration will build on the work of the 100,000 Genome Project which has collected genomic data and pathology samples from 15,000 participants with 20 different cancer types recruited from 84 Hospitals across England.

NPIC will enhance this work by scanning the pathology images for all of the participants with cancer in the 100,000 genomes project. This will create a large dataset of more than 250,000 digital pathology images (over half a petabyte of data in total), alongside detailed diagnostic information from pathology reports.

Digital pathology

Prof Darren Treanor, NPIC’s director, and a pathologist at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “GPIC will be a unique resource. The images and pathology data in the collection will bridge the gap between the DNA analysis and the pathological features in the patient’s biopsy, enabling scientists to get a better understanding of cancer, opening the door to better diagnosis and treatment for cancer patients.”

Dr Charlotte Jennings, a pathologist and NPIC’s lead researcher on the project said: “The scale of the data produced by this work will move us closer to developing reliable and representative artificial intelligence for use in diagnosis and treatment of patients with cancer.”

Dr Prabhu Arumugam, Genomics England’s Director of Clinical Data and Imaging said: “The combination of accessible, high-quality genomic, imaging and clinical data at such a scale is unique and will allow us to identify new features of cancer that drive progression or response to treatment”.