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Sunday, April 06, 2008

More on caBIG

Kenneth Buetow, Heading for the BIG Time, The Scientist, April 2008.
... caBIG [Cancer Biomedical Informatics Grid] is a response to a desperate need. From my position as a senior cancer researcher at the [National Cancer Institute], groundbreaking observations and insights in biomedicine are accumulating at a dizzying rate. However, from the perspective of the approximately 1.4 million US patients who will hear their physicians say, "You have cancer," progress is unacceptably slow. Something needed to be done to expedite the transformation of scientific findings into clinical solutions. ... Biomedical researchers struggle to meaningfully integrate their findings. Cancer is an immensely complex disease and in order to get a sense of the big picture, scientists need to combine observations from genomics, proteomics, pathology, imaging, and clinical trials. There was, however, no systematic way to do this. Encouraged by the support of our community and spurred to the challenge by our advisory boards, we set out to put a new set of tools into the hands of scientists - tools that would allow them to manage and understand the tsunami of biomedical data becoming available. The caBIG was conceived in 2003 and born in the spring of 2004. It is indeed a big idea: to develop a state-of-the-art informatics platform that provides researchers all the capabilities they'd need to fight the "war on cancer." A large-scale, global concept for connectivity such as caBIG was unheard of in biomedicine in 2004 and is still foreign in most research domains today. ...
See also the accompanying sidebars, A sampling of how you can use caBIG and caBIG in Action (free registration required).