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National Cancer Institute (NCI) TARGET: Therapeutically Applicable Research to Generate Effective Treatments

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The Therapeutically Applicable Research to Generate Effective Treatments (TARGET) Initiative seeks to accelerate research in novel marker and drug development, along with understanding the molecular basis of pediatric malignancy, through identification of genomic changes associated with the following childhood cancers:

  • Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) - A fast-growing type of blood cancer in which too many immature white blood cells are found in the blood and bone marrow. - Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) - Another type of blood cancer marked by too many myeloblasts, an alternate type of immature white blood cell, are found in the blood and bone marrow. - Neuroblastoma (NBL) - Cancer of cells of the sympathetic nervous system. - Osteosarcoma (OS) - A cancer of the bone that primarily affects children and adolescents. - Wilms' Tumor (WT) - A cancer of cells in the kidney that can spread to the liver, lung and lymph nodes.

*Additional renal and AML tumors are being added to the TARGET Initiative (clear cell sarcoma of the kidney - CCSK, rhabdoid tumor - RT, and AML cases that fail to respond to standard treatment called induction - AML-IF), along with some sequencing of cell lines and xenografts including some that are being sequenced in conjunction with the NCI PPTP project (model systems substudy - MDLS). More information can be found about each TARGET subproject by following the links on the righthand side of this page.

Together these cancers account for the majority of the more than 10,000 childhood cancer cases diagnosed in the United States each year.

TARGET is employing a set of advanced and complementary genome analysis technologies, including large scale 2nd and 3rd generation genome sequencing, to strategically characterize alterations in both gene expression and in genomic structure (such as deletions and amplification) that are involved in childhood cancers. The goal of this coordinated effort is a comprehensive genomic and transcriptomic profile of each cancer. Integrated analysis of the TARGET data will identify those genes that are either altered in their expression level or mapped to the chromosome regions of deletion/amplification/translocation, as these genes represent strong candidates for therapeutic targeting. To learn more about the TARGET project, visit the website at

TARGET primary genomic sequencing datasets (controlled-access) and limited phenotype data (open-access) are available from this site. TARGET characterization data will be deposited into the TARGET Data Coordinating Center (DCC) database, while the sequence data is deposited either into the NCBI's trace repository or the sequence read archive (SRA). Comprehensive access to TARGET datasets, including molecular characterization (e.g. gene expression, copy number variation and epigenetics), fully annotated clinical information, and targeted sequencing linking tables, is available via the TARGET Data Matrix. Please see the TARGET Publication Guidelines at the OCG website for updated details on sharing of any TARGET substudy data.


Consent CodesPCR
Focus / DiseasesNeoplasms
Study DesignTumor vs. Matched-Normal
Data TypesBisulfite-Seq, ChIP-Seq, RNA-Seq, Targeted-Capture, WGS, WXS, miRNA-Seq

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