This article has been updated to clarify the fact that NIH selected SRA as a subcontractor for these projects.
The National Cancer Institute and the National Human Genome Research Institute have selected SRA International to develop the Data Coordinating Center for the Cancer Genome Atlas Pilot Project, a three-year, $100 million effort to analyze lung, brain, and ovarian tumors in order to identify genetic changes involved in cancer.
In mid-October, NCI and NHGRI named seven institutions as Cancer Genome Characterization Centers, which will be responsible for identifying genomic aberrations, such as copy number changes and chromosomal translocations.
The agencies awarded $11.7 million per year to the CGCCs, which include the Broad Institute, Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins University, Stanford University School of Medicine, and the University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.
In addition, SRA International, a government IT contractor based in Fairfax, Va., will be responsible for the DCC, which will track data produced by the project and will help make it publicly available through the NCI's Cancer Biomedical Informatics Grid and the National Center for Biotechnology Information.
"The Cancer Genome Atlas Pilot Project will generate large quantities of data that will require an immense amount of expertise and coordination."
"The Cancer Genome Atlas Pilot Project will generate large quantities of data that will require an immense amount of expertise and coordination," NHGRI Director Francis Collins said in a statement. He added that the Data Coordinating Center is an “essential component” of the pilot project
John Greene, director of bioinformatics at SRA, told BioInform at this week’s Computational Genomics conference in Baltimore that SRA is “very pleased” to participate in the “high-profile” project, which represents the firm’s first contract with the NCICB.
Two SRA staffers began working on the DCC project two weeks ago, he said.
In addition, Greene said that NCICB last week selected SRA to support development of a pathway interaction database.
Greene was unable to disclose financial terms for either contract.
Greene added that despite the flat NIH budget, SRA’s bioinformatics group is “still growing,” although he declined to provide specific staffing figures.
SRA currently has around 10 bioinformatics contracts underway, Greene said, including the NIH’s mAdb microarray database project [BioInform 04-14-03
] and the ERIC (Enteropathogen Resource Integration Center) database it is developing under the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases’ bioinformatics resource center program [BioInform 10-25-05