Did you know there is enough publicly available disease data at the National Institute of Health to fill up several hundred Libraries of Congress? Unfortunately, much of that information is often written in different ways – think of it as different languages – that make sense to one researcher but often times not to another. Translating that data into one consistent format so that all researchers can access and understand it is one of the jobs of the Childhood Cancer Data Lab (CCDL).
The first big data lab of its kind dedicated to childhood cancer, the CCDL recently launched the beta version of “refine.bio,” a tool which is designed to collect all publicly available childhood cancer data in one convenient location. Researchers across the globe are able to efficiently access and analyze this data to identify common patterns. The CCDL is also harnessing machine learning to provide researchers greater insight into an individual's specific biology which can lead to more targeted treatments. Already, the CCDL is creating tools that will pay dividends in the search for cures now and well into the future.