Canada’s Cloud to Help Cure Cancer

Is there anything cloud can’t do? Canada is investing in a cloud biotech infrastructure that could potentially help solve one of worst problems of humankind: Cancer. Sources say that the Canadian government has invested over $6.7M USD into infrastructure that is designed to analyze genetic data that could bring us closer to a cure. The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council first began working on this project and other organizations such as Genome Canada, the Canada Foundation for Innovation and the Canadian Institutes for Health Research have also signed on to help.

The official name of the project will be the Cancer Genome Collaboratory. This cloud computing facility will analyze data from over 500 patients that have specific types of cancer. Researchers believe that the Cancer Genome Collaboratory will help advance our knowledge and give doctors the tools and analytics they need in order to provide treatments.

Dr. Lincoln Stein represents the University of Toronto’s Department of Molecular Genetics and in an interview, he mentions, “There has been no viable long-term plan for storing the raw sequencing data in a form that can be easily accessed by the research community. The Cancer Genome Collaboratory will open this incredibly important data set to researchers from laboratories large and small.”

The University of Chicago also committed nearly half a million dollars to this research project. In addition to capital, the University will also provide cloud computing resources. Initial testing of the Cancer Genome Collaboratory will begin in 2015 with the organization expecting to begin research in early 2016. The Cancer Genome Collaboratory will need to be robust enough to handle the 15 Petabytes of data that is currently available to researchers. All of the computing experts and geneticists involved with this project felt as if the maturation of cloud was essential to getting this project off the ground.