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- Informatics for Integrating Biology & the Bedside
In biomedical research, a variety of data like clinical, genetic, expression of coding or non-coding ribonucleic acid (RNA) transcripts, or proteomic data are processed to gain new insights into diseases and therapies. In transregional research networks, geographically distributed projects work on comparable research questions with data from different resources and in different formats. Providing an information platform that integrates the data of the projects can enable cross-project analysis and provides an overview of available data and resources (tissue, blood, etc.). For a German liver cancer research network consisting of 22 individual projects, we develop the integrated information platform pelican - platform enhancing liver cancer networked research. In our generic approach, data are made available to the research network by standardized data services based on technologies provided by the cancer Biomedical Informatics Grid (caBIG). It has shown that publishing service metadata in a corresponding repository is a major prerequisite for automated discovery, integration, and conversion of data records and data services. We identified data confidentiality and intellectual property considerations as major challenges while establishing such an integrated information platform. As a first result we implemented a working prototype to validate our approach.