April 2022 EGRP Cancer Epidemiology News

EGRP Cancer Epidemiology News

Consortia-Based Analyses Made Easy: Introducing COMETS Analytics

NIH has a long history of developing tools that the broader scientific community can use to further its research across a wide variety of fields. Based on a shared interest in the study of small molecules consumed and produced by human metabolism, a group of researchers convened in 2014 to identify resources that could be used collaboratively across prospective cohorts and developed strategies to leverage these resources and advance the use of metabolomics in prospective cohort studies. They created a collaborative group, the Consortium of METabolomics Studies (COMETS), to identify and tackle projects that could not be effectively investigated by one independent group. Since its inception, over 70 prospective cohorts and more than 200 investigators from Asia, Europe, South America, and North America participate in COMETS.

With a consortium of this size comes the challenge of performing large, complex studies in a rigorous and reproducible manner. Traditionally, consortia pool data centrally; however, this was not viable for COMETS due to its international nature and a number of institutes either not permitting data transfers or having undue challenges under the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation. Thus, the consortium adopted a federated data analysis approach that allows institutes to run standardized and reproducible analyses of their own data and send standardized results centrally for meta-analysis.

To support this approach, a free, publicly available online tool called COMETS AnalyticsExternal Web Site Policy was developed collaboratively by NCI and NCATS, which requires no specialized experience and can be run either locally or via a web-based server. The software performs metabolite data harmonization, correlation-based analysis, and generalized linear models, and has interactive visualization tools for further exploring results. Ongoing development includes the support of conditional logistic regression and survival analyses, as well as pathway enrichment analysis.

Importantly, although COMETS Analytics was designed with metabolomics data analysis in mind, it also can be used to perform non-metabolomics-based consortium analyses, as the principles and workflows remain the same.

You can learn more about COMETS through a recorded demonstrationExternal Web Site Policy, along with the following publication and accompanying commentary:

Temprosa M, Moore SC, Zanetti KA, Appel N, Ruggieri D, Mazzilli KM, Chen K-L, Kelly RS, Lasky-Su JA, Loftfield E, McClain K, Park B, Trijsburg L, Zeleznik OA, Mathé EA. COMETS Analytics: An online tool for analyzing and meta-analyzing metabolomics data in large research consortia. Am J Epidemiol. 2022;191(1):147-158. doi:10.1093/aje/kwab120.

Commentary: Lacey JV Jr, Benbow JL. Standards, Inputs, and Outputs: Strategies for improving data-sharing and consortia-based epidemiologic researchAm J Epidemiol. 2022;191(1):159-162. doi:10.1093/aje/kwab217.

Funding Opportunities

  • Cancer Control Research in Persistent Poverty Areas (U54, Clinical Trial Optional)
    Note: There will be a pre-application webinar for RFA-CA-22-015 on April 15, 2022 from 12:00 - 1:00 p.m. ET. RegistrationExternal Web Site Policy is required.
  • Implementation Research to Reduce Noncommunicable Disease (NCD) Burden in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs) and Tribal Nations During Critical Life Stages and Key Transition Periods (R01, Clinical Trial Optional)
  • NIH Faculty Institutional Recruitment for Sustainable Transformation Program: FIRST Cohort (U54, Clinical Trial Optional)
  • Tobacco Centers of Regulatory Science for Research Relevant to Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (U54, Clinical Trial Optional)
  • Center for Coordination of Analysis, Science, Enhancement, and Logistics in Tobacco Regulatory Science (U54, Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
  • Notice of Special Interest (NOSI): Administrative Supplements to Support Germline Genome-wide Genotyping and Sequencing of Existing Samples from Minority Racial/Ethnic Populations and Sharing of Associated Epidemiologic Data (NOT-CA-22-056)
    Note: There will be a pre-application webinar for NOT-CA-22-056 on April 1, 2022. RegistrationExternal Web Site Policy is required. A recording will be available on https://epi.grants.cancer.gov/events/#past approximately 2 weeks after the live event.
  • NOSI: Research Supplements to Promote Diversity in Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes  – IDeA States Pediatric Clinical Trial Network Program (Admin Supp – Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
  • NOSI: Administrative Supplement Opportunity to Stimulate or Strengthen Global Cancer Health Disparities Research (NOT-CA-22-057)
  • Notices of Intent to Publish a Funding Opportunity for Cancer Prevention and Control Clinical Trials Planning Grant Program (R34 Clinical Trials Optional, U34 Clinical Trials Optional) (NOT-CA-22-061, NOT-CA-22-062)

Grants Policy Notices and Information

  • Upcoming Changes to the Federal Financial Report Beginning April 1, 2022 (NOT-OD-22-099)

Requests for Information

  • Inviting Comments and Suggestions on a Framework for the NIH-Wide Strategic Plan for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (NOT-OD-22-061, responses requested by April 3, 2022)
  • Seeking Stakeholder Actionable Input to Improve Research on Health and Well-Being for Asians, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (NOT-CA-22-047, NOT-CA-22-069, response due date extended to April 22, 2022)
  • Notice of Extension of the Public Comment Period for NOT-OD-22-064 DRAFT Supplemental Information to the NIH Policy for Data Management and Sharing: Responsible Management and Sharing of American Indian/ Alaska Native Participant Data (NOT-OD-22-104, responses requested by April 28, 2022)
  • Potential of Wearable Devices in Cancer Research and Care (NOT-CA-22-060, responses requested by May 2, 2022)
  • Inviting Comments to Inform NIH on the Intersection of the SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 Pandemic and the Health of Women (NOT-OD-22-092, responses requested by May 6, 2022)

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