NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the National Cancer Institute have extended their partnership through 2021 in an effort to expand the use of big data techniques and machine learning algorithms, which were originally developed for space exploration, in cancer research.
The space agency said Thursday JPL and NCI will work to expand their data science efforts to other NCI-sponsored cancer research programs under the renewed partnership.
Those NCI-funded programs include the Early Detection Research Network, Informatics Technology for Cancer Research initiative and the Consortium for Molecular and Cellular Characterization of Screen-Detected Lesions.
EDRN is a consortium of biomedical scientists who share information on cancer biomarkers and other genetic signatures related to the disease.
NASA noted that JPL and NCI-backed EDRN have collaborated to create a single network designed to collect cancer research data through the establishment of a JPL-based informatics center.
Dan Crichton, head of JPL’s center for data science and technology, helped form the informatics center that works to support EDRN’s big data initiatives.
The space agency said the JPL-EDRN team also discovered six cancer biomarkers and nine biomarkers that were approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in cancer research efforts and Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments laboratories.