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NLM Honored with Internet2 Award

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) has been honored as an innovator for developing tools that help doctors around the world collaborate in cancer research. NLM received a 2008 Internet2 Driving Exemplary Applications (IDEA) Award. Internet2 is a consortium of universities, companies, government, and research labs. The IDEA awards recognize innovators who have created and deployed advanced network applications that have enabled transformational progress in research, teaching, and learning.

NLM was recognized for its geography-independent cancer research tools. The library is developing advanced network-based tools and techniques that leverage the speed and capability of research networks like Internet2 to enable doctors from around the world to more effectively participate in cancer research studies and enable more comprehensive analysis of cancer research data. These tools have transformed the way geographically distant cancer researchers are able to collaborate. For example, more than 40 researchers and medical professionals in six countries have conducted more than 10 studies in two years, which has significantly benefited the field. While these breakthrough tools are currently being utilized for cervical cancer research, there is significant potential for extending their use broadly in the biomedical field.

"Advanced research networks such as Internet2 could not be more critical in the global enterprise to address the world's health by enabling geographically distant researchers and health care workers to collaborate remotely," said George Thoma, chief, Communications Engineering Branch, U.S. National Library of Medicine. "The tools include systems to store thousands of images and longitudinal patient records, and provide access to these images by shape, color and texture features. The focus of current research is to study cervical cancer caused by the Human Papillomavirus, but other research areas are planned."

Awards were presented at Internet2's 2008 Spring Member Meeting. Thoma, Sameer Antani and L. Rodney Long of NLM and Marck Schiffman of the National Cancer Institute collaborated on the award-winning work.