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.

Scientific discovery involves collecting and analyzing data, and communicating new knowledge arising therefrom. What happens, though, when someone wants to repeat an experiment, or build on an existing approach? For this to happen, there needs to be sufficient information in the public domain and data that is accessible and understandable to the scientist.

In recent years, Challenges have become a popular way to engage and motivate the research and innovation communities to solve difficult problems. Challenges are open competitions where communities are presented with specific and often difficult problems to solve. Participants are given guidelines and test data, and are challenged to compete to find the best solution. Open competition encourages innovative thinking, provides for broad participation, allows funders to set ambitious goals, and is a cost-effective way to encourage collaboration and generate novel solutions.

The cost of DNA sequencing has dropped more than one million-fold over the last decade, making it increasingly possible to discover the genetic basis of cancer and response to treatment.

NCI has launched the Genomic Data Commons (GDC), a system that will promote sharing of genomic and clinical data between researchers and facilitate precision medicine in oncology.

"We are on the cusp of breakthroughs that will save lives, benefit all of humanity. But we have to work together." Vice President Joe Biden's words at the American Association for Cancer Research conference resonate as a clear call to action. When we collaborate and share our expertise, the cancer informatics community can bring a formidable wealth of knowledge and crucial skills to drive and facilitate cancer research.

The Seven Bridges Cancer Genomics Cloud (CGC) is one of three pilot systems funded by the National Cancer Institute with the aim of co-localizing massive genomics

To kick off the recent Cancer Informatics for Cancer Centers (CI4CC) Spring Symposium, we had the pleasure of organizing a workshop about "The Role of Academic Technology Development in Cancer Research." The goal of the workshop was to discuss the role of academic informatics technology in cancer research, with an emphasis on technology developed through the Information Technology for Cancer Research (ITCR) program.

The NCI Data Catalog is a consolidated listing of the publicly available data collections produced by NCI initiatives.

There has been a lot of press in the past couple of months about the "Cancer Moonshot," first mentioned by Vice President Joe Biden in October 2015, and gaining steam recently with the President's State of the Union address and an initial recommendation of $1 billion of funding. The White House released a Fact Sheet highlighting the exciting and transformative goals of the Moonshot.