Researchers collaborating in Pittsburgh have developed an open-source software resource that can better enable investigators studying cancer to process large amounts of genomic cancer data.
The new resource, developed by researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center can assist investigators in sorting through genomic cancer data to determine better methods of cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment.
The open-source software, which processes data generated by The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) project and is called TCGA Expedition, is described in an article in the journal PLOS ONE.
“Starting with TCGA, our goal is to make large data sets available to the average researcher who would not otherwise be able to access this information,” said lead author Rebecca Jacobson, MD, professor of biomedical informatics at the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Medicine, as well as its chief information officer.
“There’s a growing understanding that further advances in healthcare are going to require a previously unseen level of data-sharing, which will require new tools,” Jacobson added. “That’s particularly true in cancer research, as recognized by the major focus on data sharing in Vice President Joseph Biden’s recently announced Cancer Moonshot initiative.”
Funding for the new software was provided by IPM and the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI), a partner with UPMC CancerCenter.
“This work is about enabling and speeding up science,” said Adrian Lee, director of IPM and of UPCI’s Women’s Cancer Research Center, and a co-author on the new paper. “Resources such as this will be key in our move to precision cancer genomic medicine.