Microsoft-backed data alliance awards $1.2M for 3 cancer treatment innovation projects

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The Cascadia Data Alliance, a health research data sharing initiative backed by Microsoft, recently granted $1.2 million for new cancer treatment innovation projects at five member organizations, according to a Nov. 5 news release. 

The three pilot awards will be dispersed among the following CDA members: Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle; the University of Washington eScience Institute in Seattle; BC Cancer in Vancouver; University of British Columbia Data Science Institute in Vancouver; and the Knight Cancer Institute at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland. 

The organizations will receive the $1.2 million in funding and credits for Microsoft's Azure cloud computing services in support of their projects, which aim to tackle a range of cancer issues by developing new tech solutions and best practices for data standardization. 

Here are the three projects: 

1. Fred Hutchinson, BC Cancer and University of Washington researchers will collaborate on the first project, which will involve using new genomic methods to determine how tumor cells' genetic profiles change during treatment and how the alterations affect patient's outcomes. 

2. The second project will center on gut microbiome health, with Fred Hutchinson, BC Cancer and OHSU researchers working together to develop genomic technologies, data analysis tools and cloud computing to identify genetic fingerprints of gut bacteria and match them to outcomes of cancer patients' treatment. 

3. A team of Fred Hutchinson, BC Cancer, OHSU and UBC researchers will head up the third project, which will involve creating an international network for artificial intelligence-based, privacy-protected quality assurance. The team will focus on ovarian cancer as the proof of concept for the system. 

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