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Cancer Data, Floating in the Cloud

The biomedical data analysis company Seven Bridges has uploaded more than a petabytes' worth of cancer data to the cloud for any researcher to use, Stat News reports.

The company recently raised $45 million in a Series A financing round, as GenomeWeb reported. It plans to use those funds, in part, to expand the number of national-scale projects it is involved in. Indeed, GenomeWeb also notes that the system Seven Bridges developed for the National Cancer Center's Cancer Cloud pilot is broadly available.

This data trove includes DNA and other molecular data on cancers from 11,000 patients as well as related medical information. Typically, Stat News notes that such data has been stored locally on supercomputers.

"I think it's going to be very, very helpful to scientists and clinicians who have not been able to get to the data before," Anna Barker, former deputy director of NCI and now a researcher at Arizona State University, tells Stat News.

Seven Bridges was one of three groups, along with the Institute for Systems Biology and the Broad Institute, selected by NCI to figure out how to store the data in the cloud. ISB's partially completed platform was made available to researchers last November and the Broad's is set to be widely released in the spring.

"It's not clear whether the agency will combine the best of each into a single product, but eventually all or part of the three platforms will be incorporated into a mega-site called the Genomic Data Commons," Stat News says, adding that a larger resource is expected to be ready in the spring.