Cancer data available for global scientists through Microsoft’s Azure

The International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC) is further enhancing cancer research globally by constructing a huge collection of cancer data available for investigation through Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing platform.

Cancer data available for global scientists through Microsoft’s Azure
Image Credit: Ontario Institute for Cancer Research.

Offering controlled and safe access to ICGC genomic and clinical data on Azure would alleviate the need for scientists to procure huge amounts of storage and computing power in their home institutions—this indicates that more researchers can utilize the data. The use of Azure was facilitated due to a philanthropic grant from Microsoft’s AI for Health program.

ICGC is a global collaboration and has developed extensive datasets of genomic mutations in over 50 cancer types and also made them obtainable to global scientists to speed up the creation of next-generation cancer treatments and diagnostics. By using Azure these efforts can be advanced by offering cloud-based storage of ICGC data.

The virtual computing platform enables scientists to perform data analysis in the cloud, utilizing Azure-stored data or data from various other ICGC platforms. Seven-hundred-fifty-four terabytes of ICGC data are accessible on Azure, including over 75,000 files from 3,000 patient donors across 15 various cancer types.

Through Azure, we will put ICGC data into the hands of more scientists and remove the constraints that come with working with these large datasets. For example, even when using a high-speed internet connection, it can take researchers months to download the data they need. With Azure, we’ve done away with that hurdle completely by taking the researcher’s query to the data in the cloud.”

Dr Lincoln Stein, Head, Adaptive Oncology, Ontario Institute for Cancer Research

Dr Lincoln Stein is also the leader of the ICGC Data Coordination Center.

Dr Lincoln Stein further states, “We are thankful for Microsoft’s support and are grateful to the thousands of patients who donated the samples behind the data. We look forward to seeing the discoveries made using this new platform for ICGC data that will ultimately improve the lives of cancer patients.”

Cloud computing has the power to bring together researchers all over the world and advance scientific discoveries. The ICGC project is instrumental in the future of cancer research, and we are proud to help improve access to data for the global cancer research community through the AI for Health program.”

Geralyn Miller, Senior Director, Health Strategy, Microsoft AI for Good Research Lab

ICGC ventured into its next phase named ICGC ARGO (Accelerating Research in Genomic Oncology). ICGC ARGO equally analyzes specimens from 100,000 cancer patients with great quality clinical data to tackle outstanding questions that are significant in the quest to defeat cancer.

It is expected that the Azure platform can be employed to bring forth this extremely valuable resource to the global cancer research community.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of AZoLifeSciences.
You might also like... ×
Study analyzes the risk of re-identification of shared genomic data