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Heritage-Dream, National Cancer Institute Breast Cancer Network Inference Prize Announced

April 19, 2013

Heritage-Dream, National Cancer Institute Breast Cancer Network Inference Prize Announced

April 19, 2013

Competition aims to develop more efficient treatment strategies for breast cancer patients

San Francisco, California-April 19, 2013- Heritage Provider Network (HPN), The National Cancer Institute, Sage Bionetworks and DREAM today announced the Heritage-DREAM Breast Cancer Network Inference Challenge. The prize contest uses big data to develop more effective treatments for breast cancer, and was featured at the Sage Bionetworks Commons Congress in San Francisco, California(http://sagebase.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/DREAM8_Press_Release.pdf)

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Sponsored by HPN and the NCI Division of Cancer Biology, the goal of the prize is to challenge data scientists to find ways to quickly and effectively increase our understanding of signaling cellular pathways in breast cancer.

“This is our first prize challenge to foster innovations in breast cancer research,” said Dr. Richard Merkin, President and CEO of Heritage Provider Network. “Hopefully, our understanding of how these signaling pathways are deregulated in cancer cells will lead to a better understanding of how cancer cells are wired,” he continued. “Currently, we don’t have the maps needed to guide our efforts. This challenge can provide those key maps, allowing effective treatment therapies to be accelerated, savings lives and millions of dollars.”

“It is a privilege to be able to count the Heritage Provider Network as a partner in this important effort to unravel the networks that are deregulated in breast cancer. The challenge format will help discover new biology in an accelerated way, as dozens of participants working on the same data for 4 months can achieve what a single group would achieve in many years,” said Gustavo Stolovitzky, co-founder of The DREAM Project.

“Cancer remains one of the most daunting and important challenges for the medical research community. While tremendous progress has been made in its understanding and management, the personal and societal losses remain huge. Biomedical research remains the key to future progress and cures for all diseases including cancer,” said Dan Gallahan, Deputy Director, DCB, National Cancer Institute. “The NCI remains committed to supporting that research but recognizes the need for new approaches and innovations in how that research is advanced. That is why we are very pleased to have participated in the development of this Heritage-DREAM Breast Cancer Network Inference Challenge.

This challenge utilizes the power of crowdsourcing to address some of the fundamental issues of how breast cancer cells function, allowing for more directed and precise treatment. Crowdsourcing has proven to be an important mechanism to broaden the community of researchers focused on cancer related issues,” Gallahan continued. “Heritage Provider Network (HPN) is an early adopter of challenges, having already engaged in some of the most ambitious challenges to date. We are very pleased and grateful for the insight and support by HPN and its CEO, Dr. Richard Merkin, in this important endeavor. We look forward to future interactions as we continue the struggle against cancer.”

Sage Bionetworks and DREAM are running the prize challenge.

The Heritage DREAM Breast Cancer Network Inference Challenge is one of a number of competitions Dr. Merkin is sponsoring in HPN’s ongoing efforts to spur innovations that improve quality and reduce inefficiencies in healthcare.

Press Release