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Dana-Farber, OICR Join OSHU-led Cancer Data Sharing Effort

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Ontario Institute for Cancer Research have joined the Collaborative Cancer Cloud, an Oregon Health & Science University-led initiative that aims to provide secure infrastructure for sharing and analyzing large quantities of oncology data.

The Collaborative Cancer Cloud is an implementation of platform-as-a-service infrastructure being developed by Intel to enable hospitals and research institutions to share private genomic, imaging, and clinical datasets without compromising the privacy of the contributing patients. The system uses Intel-developed technologies to remotely query oncology clinical and research datasets held by institutions that have agreed to share their information. The platform makes it easier, faster, and more affordable for developers, researchers and clinicians to explore and combine disparate datasets to determine how genes interact to drive disease in patients.

The three institutes and Intel will initially work on pilot projects that use novel analytics approaches to explore molecular and imaging data. "To understand the causes of cancer and to develop more effective methods of prevention, detection and treatment, cancer researchers need access to rich molecular and clinical data sets," Lincoln Stein, director of OICR's informatics and bio-computing program and a molecular genetics professor at the University of Toronto, said in a statement. "Projects like the Collaborative Cancer Cloud overcome the barriers to working with these data sets by allowing multiple institutions to pool their data and to provide researchers with the computer power needed to work on the data remotely."

Sharing data can be beneficial to all researchers, added Brian Druker, director of the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute. "By securely sharing clinical and research data among institutions, while maintaining patient privacy, our goal is to turn a process that's agonizing and uncertain for countless patients into a highly tailored, one-day diagnosis and treatment recommendation," he said.

Moving forward, OHSU and Intel plan to open up the CCC to other institutions. In the future, the platform may be also be used to study cardiovascular diseases and neurological disorders, as well as other conditions, the partners said.

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