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ISB Gets $6.5 Million from NCI


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Institute for Systems Biology (ISB) has received a $6.5 million two-year contract from the NIH’s National Cancer Institute (NCI) to develop a cloud-based platform that will serve as a large-scale data repository and provide the computational infrastructure necessary to carry out cancer genomics research at unprecedented scales.

ISB’s Shmulevich group will serve as the lead on the project with two partners: Google, Inc., and SRA International, Inc. (a Fairfax, Va.-based provider of IT solutions and professional services to government organizations).

Called the Cancer Genomics Cloud (CGC), the project will migrate the massive amounts of data collected from TCGA (The Cancer Genome Atlas) to Google Cloud Platform and, importantly, provide easy and secure access to that information, with the requisite compute power to manage and analyze large datasets.

Funded by the NCI and the National Human Genome Research Institute, TCGA is a comprehensive and coordinated effort to accelerate understanding of the molecular basis of cancer through the application of genome analysis technologies, including large-scale genome sequencing.

“The CGC will democratize access to the wealth of cancer genomics data by substantially lowering the barrier to accessing and computing over these datasets,” said Dr. Ilya Shmulevich, professor at ISB and CGC prime investigator. “Cancer researchers will be able to analyze and explore entire cohorts of rich genomic data, without needing access to a large local compute cluster. The CGC will also facilitate collaborative research by allowing scientists to work on common datasets and projects in a cloud environment.”

ISB, which houses one of the Genome Data Analysis Centers within the TCGA project, will respond to the needs of the research community and spearhead the development of applications that will provide community access to the cloud-based data and computational infrastructure. ISB will also provide programmatic examples for others in the research community to develop novel methods and applications.

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