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Fox Chase Cancer Center Joins National Network to Revolutionize Cancer Research: Heralded as the new "World Wide Web of Cancer Research"

PHILADELPHIA (March 9, 2004) -- Fox Chase Cancer Center announced today that it has been named a partner with the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to create the cancer Biomedical Informatics Grid (caBIG), an electronic network linking individuals and institutions, both nationally and internationally, to accelerate all aspects of cancer research. In particular, Fox Chase will lead the effort to centralize the tremendous amount of valuable data generated as a result of proteomics research.

The field of bioinformatics is a relatively new area of research created by the need to store and analyze large amounts of data generated by high-tech laboratory research. The creation of caBIG takes bioinformatics to a new level. It links clinicians and researchers from Fox Chase and other NCI-designated cancer centers as part of a revolutionary information infrastructure enabling researchers to share data and tools in an open environment with common standards.

"Bioinformatics is the glue of future research," said Michael Ochs, PhD, director of the bioinformatics facility at Fox Chase. "Rapidly developing technologies have created new tools for researchers to obtain a vast amount of information regarding every aspect of cancer-- from it's basic molecular development to prevention and treatment. Through this consortium, we can pool our data, our resources and our efforts to speed discoveries and achieve our ultimate mission - to reduce the burden of cancer.

"Proteomics is one such field where, without caBIG, data generated could quickly exceed the capacity to manage and define meaningful results." Proteomics is the science of tracking protein activity in serum or tissue samples in an effort to identify protein patterns that can be applied to the prevention or treatment of cancer.

"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 the tremendous amount of 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.

Fox Chase Cancer Center, part of the Temple University Health System, is one of the leading cancer research and treatment centers in the United States. Founded in 1904 in Philadelphia as one of the nation’s first cancer hospitals, Fox Chase was also among the first institutions to be designated a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1974. Fox Chase researchers have won the highest awards in their fields, including two Nobel Prizes. Fox Chase physicians are also routinely recognized in national rankings, and the Center’s nursing program has received the Magnet recognition for excellence four consecutive times. Today, Fox Chase conducts a broad array of nationally competitive basic, translational, and clinical research, with special programs in cancer prevention, detection, survivorship, and community outreach.  For more information, call 1-888-FOX CHASE or (1-888-369-2427).

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