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Regional Collaborations Will Accelerate Innovation in Data-Intensive Medical Science

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Three pilot awards announced by the Cascadia Data Alliance aim to promote collaborations that may answer important scientific questions and develop new ways for using technical solutions and best practices, data and methods standardization, and Azure cloud services that could be broadly applied in future research. The projects tackle a range of questions in the cancer field.

The awards to cross-institutional teams of Alliance member organizations — Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, the University of Washington eScience Institute, BC Cancer, the University of British Columbia Data Science Institute, and the Knight Cancer Institute at Oregon Health & Science University — represent more than $1.2 million in funding and credits for Microsoft's Azure cloud computing service.

"The Cascadia Data Alliance is committed to transforming cancer care through research powered by technology and data science," says Raphael Gottardo, scientific director of the Translational Data Science Integrated Research Center at Fred Hutch. "By connecting experts from across the Pacific Northwest to work on projects focused on immune checkpoint inhibitors, accurately diagnosing distinct ovarian cancer types and single-cell genomic sequencing on breast cancer biopsies, we can make impactful, life-changing, and potentially lifesaving discoveries."

The research team in the new project will use state-of-the-art genomic methods to determine how tumor cells' genetic profiles change during treatment and how those changes are linked to the patient's outcomes.

"This project brings together computational, experimental, and clinical expertise to bridge data science and clinical translation," says computational biologist Gavin Ha of Fred Hutch, one of the project's leaders. "Together with our partners . . . we hope that this pilot project to study treatment resistance in breast cancer will provide the foundation for future cross-border collaborations to better understand and monitor how cancer patients respond to treatments."

From Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
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