The author reviews the recently published article, ‘Facilitating a culture of responsible and effective sharing of cancer genome data’ (Nat Med 2016;22:464–71), considering why data sharing is important, and explaining the obstacles and problems involved. The need to identify common bioinformatics pipelines, and resolving outstanding legal, ethical and technical issues are highlighted. Particular attention is given to emerging issues around informed consent and the handling of electronic patient records. There is now an urgent need to address all these issues on multiple levels in order to fulfil the promise of personalised medicine. The author further considers the work of the Global Alliance for genomics and health across cancer and rare diseases, and in the emerging field of infectious diseases genomics. Finally, the potential impact of cancer genomic data on clinical practice is considered and the enormous potential for it to inform good decision-making is underscored.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.
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