Cancer network to speed sharing of research data

The National Cancer Institute has begun developing a biomedical electronic information network through which scientists can share research data.

The National Institutes of Health launched the initiative last July as a pilot. The cancer Biomedical Informatics Grid, or caBIG, now links 50 cancer centers and should be established over the next year, said Ken Buetow, director of the cancer institute's Center for Bioinformatics.

The open-source system, to which medical organizations voluntarily provide information, will let cancer and biomedical researchers collaborate on projects, applications, standards and data. To view the portal, go to caBIG.nci.nih.gov.

Recent advances in cancer research methods and technologies have resulted in an explosion of knowledge about the disease and its treatment, Buetow said.

But that research is currently an 'informatics tower of Babel,' he said. 'Integration is critical to achieve the promise of molecular medicine.'

The network has a budget of $20 million for the first year of the pilot, and NIH anticipates similar funding levels for the second and third years.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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