The National Cancer Institute took on that issue in 2003 by launching what it called the largest IT project in the history of biomedical research. The NCI created what is, in essence, a World Wide Web of cancer research.
The Cancer Biomedical Informatics Grid, or caBIG, promises to help researchers, physicians and patients across the country to better share more-detailed information about diseases and thus speed the development of new drugs and treatments for them.
The government-funded effort costs about $20 million a year, the NCI said.
To date, 42 of the institute's 63 national cancer centers are either linked to the caBIG grid or are installing the necessary infrastructure to participate. Many are already building applications that can be shared by members of the grid.
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