Amanda Haddock is on a mission. She wants to create a database containing at least 50,000 human genomes \u2013 our genetic material \u2013 to find better treatments and cures for cancers.\nLast year, Haddock and her husband established Dragon Master Foundation, an organisation based in Wichita in the United States after their 16-year-old son lost his battle with glioblastoma multiforme, a highly aggressive form of brain cancer in 2012.\n\u201cWe weren\u2019t looking to start a foundation ... we were volunteering with a few large groups here in the US and as part of that we attended a conference and heard a researcher speaking from the University of Arizona who was well respected in the cancer research community,\u201d Haddock said.\n\u201cI\u2019m paraphrasing here but basically she said if we [the university] could compare 50,000 genomes, \u2018we could probably cure cancer,\u2019\u201d Haddock said.\nHaddock and her husband Richard Haddock \u2013 a former software developer with more than 30 years experience in the technology industry \u2013 spoke to the researcher. They quickly realised that there were no large databases available for scientists to access and analyse a large amount of genomics data.\nRead: Big data to advance cancer genomics\nHaddock said existing databases are only collecting \u201cpieces of information\u201d such as tumour tissue or data regarding a specific tumour type. There are foundations that are collecting genomic data for healthy people \u2013 but it\u2019s all very segmented, said Haddock.\nDragon Master is trying to change this with plans to create a giant database where hospitals, medical schools and non-profit organisations can add and share molecular, genetic, clinical and environmental data related to brain cancer.\nThe project is still in its infancy but Haddock said the organisation is in talks with researchers interested in the initiative and data specialists on the best way to build the database.\n\u201cThe beginning is important because we need to build it with the proper scale in mind,\u201d Haddock said.\nHaddock said the organisation was also in talks with NetApp \u2013 one of Dragon Master\u2019s board members works at the vendor \u2013 as well as IBM.\nIBM is already looking at big data analysis of brain cancer. In March, the computing giant announced that its Watson supercomputer is being used to solve the mysteries of brain cancer by examining individual genetic mutations.\nIBM Watson will soon help clinicians at New York Genome Center search for mutations in patients with glioblastoma that may be referenced in medical literature and genomic databases. Findings will then be presented to the patient\u2019s doctor.\nHaddock said collecting 50,000 genomes is a \u201cbig enough number to do data analytics.\u201d But the database would also need to collect environmental data (where patients are living and the food they are eating for instance), as well as clinical information.\nHaddock said the database will enable researchers to access information live.\n\u201cFor instance, if they are working on a cancer vaccine and they know the vaccine is starting to work for a certain subgroup of patients, we want them to be able to find those patients, and submit requests to talk to their doctors.\u201d\nHaddock pointed out that genomic information is residing in many databases and not necessarily in usable form as it has been developed by different people and is in multiple formats.\n\u201cWe anticipate having to have staff on site at most of the institutions that want to participate to help them figure out the protocols to get data from their database into our database,\u201d she said.\nThe foundation is currently raising funds to hire a project co-ordinator for the initiative.