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BACKGROUND: Despite the pressing need for the creation of applications that facilitate the aggregation of clinical and molecular data, most current applications are proprietary and lack the necessary compliance with standards that would allow for cross-institutional data exchange. In line with its mission of accelerating research discoveries and improving patient outcomes by linking networks of researchers, physicians, and patients focused on cancer research, caBIG (cancer Biomedical Informatics Grid) has sponsored the creation of the caTRIP (Cancer Translational Research Informatics Platform) tool, with the purpose of aggregating clinical and molecular data in a repository that is user-friendly, easily accessible, as well as compliant with regulatory requirements of privacy and security.
RESULTS: caTRIP has been developed as an N-tier architecture, with three primary tiers: domain services, the distributed query engine, and the graphical user interface, primarily making use of the caGrid infrastructure to ensure compatibility with other tools currently developed by caBIG. The application interface was designed so that users can construct queries using either the Simple Interface via drop-down menus or the Advanced Interface for more sophisticated searching strategies to using drag-and-drop. Furthermore, the application addresses the security concerns of authentication, authorization, and delegation, as well as an automated honest broker service for deidentifying data.
CONCLUSION: Currently being deployed at Duke University and a few other centers, we expect that caTRIP will make a significant contribution to further the development of translational research through the facilitation of its data exchange and storage processes.