Ian Foster Presents at NCI ITCR18

May 24, 2018   |  Mary Bass

At the National Cancer Institute's 2018 Annual Meeting for ITCR (Information Technology for Cancer Research), Ian Foster, Globus co-founder and Argonne Data Science and Learning Division Director, presented on "Building Protected Data Sharing Networks to Advance Cancer Risk Assessment and Treatment."

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Ian Foster presents at NCI ITCR 2018

Advances in genomics and data analytics create new opportunities to advance cancer research via large-scale federation of genomic, clinical, imaging and other data from patients across institutions around the world. Successful efforts often require well-annotated patient samples aggregated from multiple sites via national or international networks, with access to substantial computational resources and bioinformatics expertise for large-scale genomic analysis. Yet despite these opportunities and promising early results, cancer research is often stymied by a lack of tools for the reliable, secure, rapid, and easy transfer and sharing of large collections of human data that can be customized to meet the needs of both large and small cancer studies. In the absence of such tools, security and performance concerns often prevent sharing altogether or force researchers to resort to slow and error prone shipping of physical media. If data are received, timely analysis is further impeded by the difficulties inherent in verifying data integrity and managing who can access data and for what purpose.

In this talk, Ian Foster discusses how the Globus research data management platform addresses these obstacles to discovery by extending high-speed, reliable data transfer and sharing technology that automates and optimizes data transfer, sharing, and analysis tasks that would otherwise require unreasonable time, resources, and expertise, and provides intuitive web interfaces for human use and APIs for use in applications. He also describes how Globus technologies are being extended, for example with increased auditing and higher level of identity assurance, to meet the security requirements of human data to enable use in data-intensive cancer research.

Opportunities for partnerships with other ITCR projects are also discussed, such as data portal development, transfer and sharing automation, and federated authentication. Foster presents illustrative collaborations that apply Globus services, including the development of data distribution and sharing networks for cancer researchers engaged in the study of cancer health disparities among the minority populations of Louisiana and joint work with Dr. Olufunmilayo Olopade‚Äôs group at University of Chicago on consensus variant calling of structural variants on a cohort of 420 breast cancer subjects sequenced using targeted gene panel (BRCA). He also discusses related work within the NIH Data Commons Pilot Project Consortium. 

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