St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, the UK, have signed an agreement to exchange cancer mutation data, which will help the discovery and understanding of genetic mutations causing  cancers.

This agreement will offer regular updates and exchanges of data between both the institutions to ensure support for research in all aspects of cancer. The data will be freely available to researchers in all areas of science.

St. Jude department of computational biology chair Jinghui Zhang said: "We want this to be the definitive resource for genomic information for the pediatric cancer community.

"This collaboration will allow us to share data across two institutions to better understand, using our combined knowledge, what causes cancer."

Though each institution has its own database, the new partnership is expected to enable a robust repository of information.

ProteinPaint, which has been developed by St. Jude researchers, offers a better way to visualise pediatric mutations in the context of human genes and proteins.

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The aim is for researchers to use genomic data to make more accurate diagnoses, learn how different DNA changes contribute to cancer and develop precision therapies suited for the genetic makeup of a patient's cancer.