cancergrid is an initiative involving scientists at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, working together to reduce the cost of clinical research, and to increase its value through effective data sharing. It is building upon the success of a four-year project funded by the UK Medical Research Council, to address a wider range of scientific goals, with support from Microsoft Research.
The cancergrid team have developed standards and tools for the automatic production of the systems needed to support clinical studies and translational research. The vision:
- the researcher creates a model of their study or dataset, based upon standard templates, using a simple study designer tool
- the software artifacts - forms and services - needed to run the study, or interact with the dataset, are then produced automatically from the model
Along with a meta-model (or model template) for clinical studies, based upon the CONSORT statement, and work on the classification and registration of clinical trials, the project has produced an ISO11179-compliant metadata registry, a semantically-aware trials design/ management system, and a toolkit for clinical data transformation and integration.
These models and software applications have been tested through initial deployment on a small number of clinical studies in Oxford and Cambridge. The metadata registry software has been adopted for use within the US caBIG initiative, and is being evaluated by a number of organisations within the UK. Development continues at Oxford, with clinical collaboration in Cambridge and London, and technical collaboration with the caBIG team in the US.