Healthcare Technology Featured Article

May 21, 2013

Bionimbus Protected Data Cloud Helps Researchers Combat Cancer

Cloud computing is getting put to use in new ways that can help save lives, with the Bionimbus Protected Data Cloud being used to analyze cancer data. To be precise, it allows researchers authorized by the National Institutes of Health to access and analyze data in The Cancer Genome Atlas with more ease and speed than previously possible.

With the Bionimbus Protected Data Cloud, authorized researches can access data from The Cancer Genome Atlas without needing to set up new computing environments. There are terabytes worth of data stored there, which used to take up to weeks to analyze and download, and that’s before installing the tools needed for it. Now that it’s in the cloud, it might as well be at their fingertips.

The Open Science Data Cloud and the University of Chicago developed this cloud-based computing system, designed to provide a cost and time efficient way to withdraw the data they need. With it, they can gain insights to help deal with health and safety issues with less time and hassle, helping analyze the information in new and more efficient ways.

Currently, the Bionimbus Protected Data Cloud is the only cloud-based system approved by the National Institutes of Health, but hopefully it won’t be the last. By providing a focus on analyzing large-scale cancer genome sequencing, it can become easier to detect, treat and prevent cancer, potentially saving countless lives. Already it has helped uncover information about the gene CUX1 that can help further our understanding of acute myeloid leukemia and how to combat it.

"With funding provided by NSF's Partnerships for International Research and Education [PIRE] program, NSF has sought to narrow the gap between the capability of modern scientific instruments to produce data and the ability of researchers to access, manage, analyze and share those data in a reliable and timely manner," said Harold Stolberg, program director of the NSF. "By embracing cloud computing as a global issue, this PIRE project brings together the expertise of many researchers, not only in the United States, but worldwide. Its success in helping researchers to access and analyze important human genomic cancer information is an exciting indicator of future developments with these technologies."

Cancer has proven itself a deadly and difficult foe, due largely in part to how little we still know about it. Even with all the information we have already amassed, there is still much we have yet to learn, and medical scientists are constantly looking over new and old data alike to find something – anything – new that can help save even one more life. With the help of the Bionimbus Protected Data Cloud, it’s now easier and more efficient than ever to search and analyze the data to uncover new facts and statistics that can help better combat cancer, keeping people protected and those afflicted alive.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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