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.

The Imaging Data Commons (IDC) has been awarded to a consortium led by investigators from the Department of Radiology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. The IDC will house multi-modal imaging data and make them available for use by the broader cancer research community.

Staff from the National Cancer Institute's (NCI) Center for Biomedical Informatics and Information Technology (CBIIT) provide scientific and business-related reading recommendations they have found to be inspiring or useful throughout their careers.

Just as numerous role models can shape, foster, and guide a child into adulthood, so can the various stakeholders within the broader cancer research community play a pivotal role in the success of data sharing efforts. Your input is critical as NCI seeks to make the most of the federal investment to collect, analyze, and share data to address the burden of cancer in children, adolescents, and young adults.

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.