The University of Chicago launched the first secure cloud-based computing system that enables researchers to analyze human genomic cancer information without the costly and cumbersome infrastructure normally needed to download and store massive amounts of data.The “Bionimbus Protected Data Cloud” as it is called, enables researchers who are authorized by NIH to access and analyze data in The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) without having to set up secure compliant computing environments capable of managing and analyzing terabytes of data, download the data which can take weeks, and then install the appropriate tools needed to analyze the data.
Using technology that was developed in part by the Open Science Data Cloud, a National Science Foundation supported project, is developing the cloud infrastructure needed for large scientific datasets.
The “Bionimbus Protected Data Cloud” helps researchers develop a more cost and time effective mechanism to obtain knowledge from massive amounts of data. Drawing insights from big data is imperative in order to address today’s environmental, health, and safety challenges.
“The open source technology underlying the Open Science Data Cloud enables researchers to manage and analyze the large data sets that are essential to taking some of today’s greatest challenges all the way from environmental monitoring to cancer genomics,” reports Robert L. Grossman, the Director of the Open Science Data Cloud project and a Professor at the University of Chicago.
“We are excited that the Bionimbus Protected Data Cloud is used for cancer genomics data so that researchers can more easily work with large datasets to understand genomic variations that seem to be one of the keys to the precise diagnosis and treatment of cancer,” continued Grossman.
Megan McNerney, an instructor of pathology at the University of Chicago, used Bionimbus to analyze data that led to her discovery that gene CUX1, which acts as a tumor suppressor and frequently inactivated in acute myeloid leukemia. The strength of Bionimbus is the support that is provided for end users to enable both expert and non-expert team members to use the cloud.”