"The next major explosion is going to be when genetics and computers come together."

Alvin Toffler

Contents © 2004-2011 Massachusetts
General Hospital

The IDDC Mission

The Information Dissemination and Data Coordination Core provides and supports capabilities for information and data collection and dissemination within the Inflammation and Host Response to Injury (IHRI) Glue Grant community of researchers as well as to external interested parties. The IDDC operates a data center and web site at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The Trauma-Related Database

Glue Grant data flow
Click chart for a larger view

Because of the interdisciplinary nature of the program - which includes such diverse fields as genomics, clinical patient care, proteomics, management reporting, and focused educational information distribution - many distinct kinds of information must be captured and stored in databases. Collectively, these systems and the data they contain are referred to as the Trauma-Related Database, or TRDB. The TRDB is a data warehouse for data and information coming from separate but related applications and databases. Ultimately, it is the creation and support of the TRDB that is the IDDC’s primary product.

Access to Information via the World Wide Web

In most cases, data in the TRDB is accessible via the World Wide Web, using an ordinary Web browser rather than specialized software, so that the data and information generated by this research is easily available to authorized users and registered consortium members at non-IHRI research centers. Since IHRI data can vary in size – that is, it may be very large if selected indiscriminately – the TRDB provides the capability of obtaining data as organized information. In other cases, such as analyzing large numbers of microarray data files, specialized software runs directly on the investigator’s local computer.

Systems for Laboratory, Microarray, Proteomics and Clinical Data Capture

The IDDC has developed and adapted several systems that support data capture activities. The Glue Grant Laboratory Information Management System (GLIMS) captures and tracks information on laboratory samples at sample collection and processing sites. It is the keystone system for sample and patient identification, and for tracking sample movement and processing between IHRI sites. A secure file transfer protocol (SFTP) site is maintained to support the transfer of large data files such as microarray images and for results from subsequent analytic processing while maintaining complete confidentiality. The Glue Grant Proteomics Data System (GPDS) is used to capture proteomics results. The Trial/DB clinical database system is used to capture patient clinical information; this database system was adapted from public-domain software developed by researchers at Yale University under NIGMS and other NIH grants. The Information Dissemination and Data Coordination Core continues to develop and adapt software and systems for capturing, presenting and tracking data.

Complete Data Sets and Models

Using guidelines from the analytical and statistical cores, the IDDC creates data sets and associated models for subsequent analysis. Data sets are considered complete when there are no new patients or items being added to them, clinical data review is completed, and analytical and statistical requirements are met.

The G25 Protocol Trauma Complete Model was derived from over 200 patients whose clinical data was reviewed and determined to be complete and within expected parameters. Each patient had at least two blood samples taken from the set of time points: days 1, 4, 7, 14, 21, 28. The derived RNA quality had to meet a minimum quality standard and one of the acceptable blood samples had to be within 24 hours of injury. Using protocols documented on this site (http://www.gluegrant.org/analytical-protocols.html) , Affymetrix GeneChip® Human Genome U133 Plus 2.0 microarrays were derived, hybridized and scanned. Subsequently, the Affymetrix microarray-derived data was input to dChip [www.dchip.org]. dChip-identified outlier array data and those arrays were removed from the data set; this also eliminated one patient and corresponding additional arrays from the patients. It was input to dChip, normalized using default dChip parameters, and a model created using the PM-only reference.

Integrating and Analyzing Data

Glue Grant analysis data flow
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As the IHRI program’s research activities result in generating large amounts of data, the IDDC continues to develop, integrate, and improve tools and services to improve researcher efficiency and effectiveness. The IDDC continues to develop systems to track and verify data files and incorporate data and analytical results into the TRDB data warehouse. With the support of software systems and the Data Curator, the IDDC does preparatory data processing to provide input to the Clinical Biostatistics Core. Clinical Biostatistics Core results are subsequently integrated with the TRDB. The IDDC also provides program management reports regarding clinical data collection, sample tracking and processing, analytical data collection, analytical data processing and collection and processing of analytical results.

Data Dissemination: Web Sites for the Public, the Consortium, and Participating Investigators

The IDDC Core also designs, develops, edits, and maintains the Web site you are now viewing, as well as controlled-accessed Web pages that are only available to authorized participating investigators or registered members of the data-access Consortium. The Web site is used to publish relevant information regarding IHRI research, program information and activities. The security of these Web pages and the underlying data is strictly maintained – so that all information is available only to the appropriate parties – and for the physical protection of all data, including backup copies of the data at remote sites.

IDDC Core Organizational Structure

The IDDC Core is directed by Dr. Ronald Tompkins, under the overall guidance of the Steering Committee, with Philip Mason as the manager. The IDDC staff includes both a full-time staff and technical consultants in the Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Surgery. The IDDC staff works closely with Clinical Biostatistics Core members, IHRI investigators, and consortium members to address researcher data acquisition, project management and computational needs .