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NIH/NCI 428 - Cloud-Based Multi-Omic and Imaging Software for the Cancer Research Data Commons

Fast-Track proposals will be accepted.

Direct-to-Phase II proposals will NOT be accepted.

Number of anticipated awards: 3-5

Budget (total costs, per award):

Phase I: up to $400,000 for up to 9 months

Phase II: up to $2,000,000 for up to 2 years




The cancer research field has become intensely focused on the generation of high-throughput datasets to better understand cancer and ultimately to inform the development of better treatment and prevention tools. NIH and NCI have supported numerous programs including The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), The Cancer Imaging Archive (TCIA), Therapeutically Applicable Research to Generate Effective Treatment (TARGET), and Clinical Proteomic Tumor Atlas Consortium (CPTAC) to generate a wealth of multi-modal data to be leveraged by the cancer research community. However, we are still limited in our ability to draw insights and meaningful interpretations from these datasets, which include multi-omics, imaging, and clinical data, and by challenges in integration across disparate datasets. To address these challenges, NCI has created the Cancer Research Data Commons (CRDC) as part of the National Cancer Data Ecosystem recommended by the Cancer MoonshotSM Blue Ribbon Panel (BRP). The CRDC brings together data with cloud computing infrastructure to provide secure access to various data types across scientific domains, allowing users to analyze, share, and store results by leveraging the storage and elastic compute of the cloud.

The primary goal of this contract topic is to solicit commercial sector participation in the CRDC to develop strong commercial cloud-based analytic tools, specifically on multi-omics and/or imaging analysis, that can be disseminated and sustained within the cancer research community. To that end, leveraging of open standards to the extent that is possible is highly encouraged. The SBIR contract funding mechanism will offer the opportunity for small business participants to contribute solutions to address unmet challenges of big data analysis that are not currently provided by existing tools in the CRDC by developing and extending tools and resources to integrate into the rapidly evolving CRDC. Through this contract topic, NCI seeks to enable wider engagement of the CRDC community which includes researchers, and clinicians by offering enhanced data analysis capabilities, visualization tools, and data access and sharing platforms.


Project Goals

The goal of this contract topic is to provide support for development and implementation of innovative solutions for continued advancement and evolution of cloud-based informatics tools to integrate with the CRDC for broader user community engagement. Unmet challenges that should be addressed through this solicitation include, but are not limited to: 1. Integration of existing tools widely utilized by the cancer research community with the CRDC through adoption of the Data Commons Framework (DCF), and extension of these tools to support unique data analysis opportunities of this platform; 2. Development of novel tools to perform multi-omics and/or imaging analysis; 3. Collaboration with academic developers of popular tools to integrate them with the CRDC and support commercialization. Development and adaptation of tools that support innovative, integrative data analysis (particularly machine learning algorithms and models), interoperable across the CRDC are of particular interest. The activities that fall within the scope of this contract topic include delivery of design specification for the development/extension of informatics tools and demonstration of early phase prototype that shows successful integration with CRDC. Examples of effective integration with CRDC through DCF include execution of the offeror’s pre-existing or new informatics tools on multi-omics and/or imaging datasets stored in CRDC such as CPTAC and performing co-analysis with user-provided data. Successful offerors are expected to develop and implement a business process for broad adoption of their tools and resources by actively engaging with the user communities and conducting outreach and training activities as well as providing appropriate system documentation. The business process should also include business plans for marketing and long-term sustainability, such as sustained hosting of tools, training, and associated resources.


Activities not responsive to announcement:

Proposals for the development of big data analysis tools without consideration for integration with the CRDC will not be responsive to this solicitation.


Phase I Activities and Deliverables:

Phase I proposal is expected to clearly demonstrate at minimum a ‘proof of concept’ feasibility of adaption of the offeror’s informatics tool(s) or development of new tool(s) to the CRDC through the Data Commons Framework. The proposal should also identify potential barriers for commercial translation and plans to overcome those barriers. Phase I work should include software system specifications of cloud-based platforms for phase II deployment of the proposed tools and resources.

Key activities and deliverables include:

• Establish a project team composed of experts in software development, cloud infrastructure, big data informatics (e.g. proteogenomics, imaging), project management, team communication, and user-centered design.

• Design specification for the development/extension of cloud-based informatics tools to operate in the Cancer Research Data Commons.

• Develop an early phase prototype.

• Demonstrate the feasibility of CRDC integration through DCF. Example of feasibility qualification include, but not limited to, user authentication using Fence to access datasets stored in at least one CRDC repository such as Genomic Data Commons and Proteomic Data Commons, which exist now and providing authorization to datasets the user has access to. More nodes, such as Imaging Data Commons, are expected to be available for feasibility testing by the end of 2020.

• Conduct a pilot usability testing by at least 25 users

• Provide a report on the results of the first round of usability testing and the approach to modify the prototype based on this user feedback.

• Present Phase I results and future system development plan to NCI staff.


Phase II Activities and Deliverables:

Phase II projects will be expected to implement requirements identified in all phase I deliverables and launch a prototype that demonstrates successful integration with CRDC and, as appropriate, other data commons. The system design process should encourage interactions between users and developers for evaluation and further advancement of the tools and resources.

Key activities and deliverables include:

• Enhance, beta test, and finalize prototype development.

• Provide detail plans for implementation of technical assistance and delivery of tool(s) within CRDC.

• Demonstrate CRDC integration through DCF by successfully providing access to data within CRDC and performing large-scale multi-omics and/or imaging data analysis using offeror’s tools or resources. Examples of large-scale data analysis include, but are not limited to, demonstration of integration and interoperability of user-provided data with available datasets such as CPTAC from CRDC to perform comparative analyses.

• Conduct usability testing using at least 100 users


Receipt date: October 26, 2020, 5:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time

Apply for this topic on the Contract Proposal Submission (eCPS) website.

For full PHS2021-1 Contract Solicitation, CLICK HERE


Posted Date: 
July 29, 2020