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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Application of CancerGrid Technologies to Translational Research

We're nearing the end of our summary of the day's Information Systems workshop courtesy of NOCRI but there's still plenty to cover!

Dr James Brenton, Group Leader at CRUK’sCambridge Research Institute, was one of the day’s pro-caBIG speakers. Wemanaged to jot down some of the nitty-gritty, CancerGrid SQIV integratesclinical and lab data (e.g. TMA slides) using inference rules to create XMLrepresentations of both for the purpose of modeling analytical software andinterfaces. Some of the tech used has been borrowed from Astrogrid who usejava-based tools to manipulate the vast quantities of data necessary fromresearch into the universe. From what we can recall, the CancerGrid andPathgrid softwares will be open and reusable - this is the abstract of Dr.Brenton’s talk:

“CancerGrid is an initiative involvingscientists at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, working together to reducethe cost of clinical research, and to increase its value through effective datasharing. It is building upon the success of a four-year project funded by theUK Medical Research Council, to address a wider range of scientific goals, withsupport from Microsoft Research. The CancerGrid team have developed standardsand tools for the automatic production of the systems needed to supportclinical studies and translational research. The vision:

· the researcher createsa model of their study or dataset, based upon standard templates, using asimple study designer tool
· the software artefacts- forms and services - needed to run the study, or interact with the dataset,are then produced automatically from the model

The production process works toimplement exactly the support required through the configuration of familiar,trusted software applications, such as Microsoft Office with SharePoint, or theopen-source eXist XML database - applications that are used throughout the UKNHS, in government, and in industry. Along with a meta-model (or modeltemplate) for clinical studies, based upon the CONSORT statement, and work onthe classification and registration of clinical trials, the project hasproduced an ISO11179-compliant metadata registry, a semantically aware trialsdesign/ management system, and a toolkit for clinical data transformation andintegration. These models and software applications have been tested throughinitial deployment on a small number of clinical studies in Oxford andCambridge. The metadata registry software has been adopted for use within theUS caBIG initiative, and is being evaluated by a number of organisations withinthe UK. Development continues at Oxford, with clinical collaboration inCambridge and London, and technical collaboration with the caBIG team in theUS.”

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