Cancer Data Science Pulse

The Cancer Data Science Pulse blog provides insights on trends, policies, initiatives, and innovation in the data science and cancer research communities from professionals dedicated to building a national cancer data ecosystem that enables new discoveries and reduces the burden of cancer.

NCI Acting Director Dr. Doug Lowy welcomes Dr. Tony Kerlavage as the Center for Biomedical Informatics and Information Technology Director.

The world of clinical research standards, including the BRIDG Model that bridges research and healthcare, would truly not be what it is today without the significant and selfless contributions of Dr. Edward Helton.

I have been involved in the design and implementation of cancer research information systems throughout my entire 30-year career. My father was the principal designer of the Apollo Lunar Descent Guidance and Navigation software that landed the first men on the moon in the late 1960's. Growing up in the Boston area, I became intensely interested in his work and spent many weekends tagging along with him in the MIT mainframe computer laboratory.

Biomedical knowledge is typically centered around the variety of biological entity types, such as genes, genetic variants, drugs, diseases, etc. Collectively, we refer to them as "BioThings." The volume of biomedical data has grown explosively, thanks to the efforts of many different researchers and consortia. This explosive growth includes many different types of data using many different formats and standards, making it difficult to unify the disparate sources of data.

In an era of unprecedented growth in the size and variety of data sets and the number of software tools, there is an ever-increasing need for frameworks that connect and integrate data and tools within a secure and easy-to-use research ecosystem.

NCI is initiating the development of an Imaging Data Commons (IDC) supported by funding provided through the Cancer MoonshotSM. Imaging plays a pivotal role in studying cancer, from diagnosis to fundamental research. Like the NCI Genomic Data Commons (GDC) and Proteomic Data Commons (PDC), the IDC will be a data node, a domain-specific repository, in the CRDC.

Broad and equitable data sharing can be interpreted many ways. For NCI's Office of Data Sharing, this means balancing the support of exciting science and innovation and the needs of research and participant communities with privacy and realistic expectations. This balance is possible when the policies we create acknowledge the benefits and challenges the public, research, and participant communities experience as they share their information to advance disease knowledge and improve healthcare.

Dr. Jaime M. Guidry Auvil serves as the director of the newly-launched NCI Office of Data Sharing (ODS). Headquartered at the Center for Biomedical Informatics and Information Technology, ODS is creating a comprehensive data sharing vision and strategy for NCI and the cancer research community.

One of the most exciting developments of the past decade has been the success of methods broadly described as deep learning. While the roots of deep learning date back to early machine learning research of the 1950s, recent improvements in specialized computing hardware and the availability of labeled data have led to significant advances and have shattered performance benchmarks in tasks like image classification and language processing.

This blog post, the fifth, concludes our series that discusses the principles underlying the collaborative project "Joint Design of Advanced Computing Solutions for Cancer (JDACS4C)."