ISB teams with Google for NCI Cancer Genomics Cloud project

ISB's Dr. Ilya Shmulevich

The list of life science data projects underpinned by Google ($GOOG) keeps getting longer. Having signed up to the BRAIN Initiative last week, Google has now teamed up with the Institute for Systems Biology (ISB) and SRA International to work on a project for the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

NCI awarded ISB a two-year, $6.5 million contract to develop a cloud-based oncology data storage and analysis platform. ISB has partnered with Google and Fairfax, VA-based IT specialist SRA to work on the platform, which is intended to make data gathered for NCI's The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) more widely available. NCI is funding the project as part of its Cancer Genomics Cloud (CGC) initiative.

"The CGC will democratize access to the wealth of cancer genomics data by substantially lowering the barrier to accessing and computing over these datasets. Cancer researchers will be able to analyze and explore entire cohorts of rich genomic data, without needing access to a large local compute cluster," ISB professor and and CGC prime investigator Dr. Ilya Shmulevich said in a statement.

ISB will use Google Cloud Platform for the storage and computing power needed to realize Shmulevich's vision. Shmulevich has worked with Google before on a project the search giant outlined in a case study in 2012. In that instance, Shmulevich's team at ISB used Google's infrastructure to cut the time taken to analyze data generated for TCGA.

NCI has also awarded CGC-related funding to the Broad Institute and Seven Bridges Genomics.

- read ISB's release
- here's Google's case study (PDF)