To give cancer patients the best possible treatment we work together with researchers and treating specialists all over The Netherlands.

Hartwig Medical Foundation helps to better understand how cancer develops and can be treated.

Hartwig Medical Foundation gathers genetic and clinical data and makes it available for research purposes.

The ultimate goal is that each patient receives a personalized treatment based on the DNA of the tumor.

DATABASE

Unique dataset for research into better cancer treatment

This first national DNA Database for cancer research is managed by Hartwig Medical Foundation. The database was set up in 2015 and early 2017 the first data were provided to researchers.

In the database all genetic and clinical data (including treatment results) of patients suffering from metastatic cancer in The Netherlands are gathered. The database is growing with data of about 200 patients per month. Because the genetic data are generated through Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) – instead of panel – the database is more complete than any other available dataset. This has resulted in a unique dataset for research into better cancer treatment. It is the world’s biggest database of metastatic tumor data.

Purpose of the database: to find new biomarkers

The DNA database helps researchers to better understand cancer (and DNA mutations). This can be achieved with the help of large quantities of patient-data because only then patterns can be recognized. Additionally, biomarkers are found by establishing the links between DNA mutations, medication and treatment results. Now that Hartwig Medical Foundation gathers genetic and clinical data in a uniform manner and makes it available to all doctors, practitioners and researchers, new biomarkers can be discovered faster and existing biomarkers can be improved. This not only results in the discovery by researchers of new cancer treatments, but also in a more effective use of existing treatments.

Technology

Hartwig Medical Foundation works with high-end DNA sequencing equipment from Illumina. A comparable set up is only present at a limited number of locations worldwide.

Moreover, the laboratory of Hartwig Medical Foundation is uniquely equipped with robotics for automated DNA and RNA isolation, sample preparation, and QC. This set up is mainly for WGS and RNA sequencing but not exclusive to facilitate research.

Applications: rules for publication and privacy policy

Researchers may request data under certain conditions. Hartwig Medical Foundation applies a strict privacy policy and rules for publication (pdf) of scientific research for which these data have been used.

A Scientific Board and an independent Data Access Board (DAB) asses the application. The DAB consists of a panel of independent experts who assess the data access applications.

Before researchers receive any data, they have to sign a license agreement (pdf) with Hartwig Medical Foundation.

'Dutch Cancer Society KWF believes in the strength of high-quality research to fight cancer and for that reason it endorses the objectives of Hartwig Medical Foundation.’