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March 9, 2004

Abramson Cancer Center Joins National Network to Revolutionize Cancer Research
Heralded as the new “World Wide Web of Cancer Research”

(Philadelphia, PA) - The Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania will partner with the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to create the cancer Biomedical Informatics Grid (caBIG), a network linking individuals and institutions, both nationally and internationally, to accelerate all aspects of cancer research.

Clinicians and researchers at the Abramson Cancer Center will work with 49 other NCI-designated cancer centers to create a revolutionary information infrastructure linking teams of cancer researchers, enabling them to better share data and tools in an open environment with common standards.

“The Abramson Cancer Center is the only facility in the nation that will be a test center in all three arms of the initiative - clinical trials management, integrative technologies in genomics and proteomics, and shared pathology tools and tissue banks,” said John H. Glick, MD, the Center’s Director. “The caBIG initiative will bring to researchers as much data as is technologically possible, allowing knowledge to move quickly across the country, and, we hope, providing clinicians with the very latest information for treating their patients.”

“We believe caBIG will become the ‘World Wide Web’ of cancer research informatics and will accelerate the development of exciting discoveries in all areas of cancer research,” said NCI Director Andrew von Eschenbach, MD. “caBIG will be a critical asset in meeting the NCI’s challenge goal of eliminating suffering and death due to cancer by the year 2015.”

To date, the capacity to harvest exciting opportunities resulting from rapid advances in cancer research - from causes to prevention, early detection and treatment - has been limited by the challenges that researchers face in their ability to share critical data and tools that support their work. This is exactly the problem that caBIG seeks to solve. By building caBIG together, members of the cancer research community solve a critical problem in ways that meet their individual needs, as well as the community’s collective needs. “caBIG will enable diverse cancer researchers to work together as an integrated community, where the whole becomes truly greater than the sum of its parts,” said von Eschenbach.

caBIG is a voluntary, open source, open access initiative that is being designed and built in partnership with the cancer center community. Since the caBIG pilot program was launched in July 2003, more than 50 interested NCI-designated cancer centers have participated in the development of the vision, approach and structure of caBIG. Participating cancer centers contributed project ideas to test the feasibility of caBIG based on existing innovative tools and available data sets.

Going forward, the National Cancer Institute’s vision is to attract additional partners to the caBIG network from within the National Cancer Institute and its grantees, other NIH institutes and interested federal health agencies, industry groups, and the broader biomedical research community. Some of these groups have already contributed ideas to the development of the caBIG vision.

For more information on caBIG, please go to http://caBIG.nci.nih.gov

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About the Abramson Cancer Center:
The Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania was established in 1973 as a center of excellence in cancer research, patient care, education and outreach. Today, the Abramson Cancer Center ranks as one of the nation’s best in cancer care, according to US News and World Report, and is one of the top five in National Cancer Institute (NCI) funding. It is one of only 39 NCI-designated comprehensive cancer centers in the United States. Home to one of the largest clinical and research programs in the world, the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania has 275 active cancer researchers and 250 Penn physicians involved in cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment. More information about the Abramson Cancer Center is available at: www.pennhealth.com/cancer.


Release available online at http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/news/News_Releases/march04/nationalnetwork.htm