The AlcHepNet project, sponsored by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), aims to improve the treatment of alcoholic hepatitis, a leading cause of liver-related morbidity and mortality. The AlcHepNet consortium is composed of 8 clinical study sites and 10 research projects including clinical studies, translational studies, and basic or preclinical studies. The network is recruiting over 1,700 participants for clinical studies, following up participants for 180 days, collecting more than 24,000 blood, urine, saliva, and liver biopsy biosamples, capturing demographic and behavioral features, clinical conditions, laboratory tests, treatments, and outcomes, and generating multiomics data from microbiome, immunologic, proteomic, metabolomic, lipidomic, and RNA/ChIP-sequencing analyses. The Indiana University Data Coordinating Center (IU DCC) and the University of Massachusetts Data Coordinating Center (UMass DCC) are collaboratively providing the essential research infrastructure, including experimental design, study implementation, data management, and statistical analysis in support of the two primary studies within the network, a clinical trial and an observational study, as well as the translational projects that utilize the biospecimens collected by the two primary studies. To facilitate the effective research use of the rich and complex AlcHepNet data, the IU DCC is developing ARDaC, the Alcoholic Hepatitis Network Research Data Commons as the central data hub and research nexus.
Design of ARDaC
The architecture of the ARDaC system is composed with following components:
The novel ARDaC system supports the representation of behavioral and pathologic data unique to alcoholic hepatitis, facilitates data filtering, querying, visualization, and exploring which are specific to the AlcHepNet clinical studies . Besides the general data query and visualization functions, ARDaC allows data exploration using the study-related criteria such as the study cohorts or arms, alcohol use history, alcoholic hepatitis treatments, prognosis information such as mortality and liver transplantations, liver functions such as MELD�s scores, omics data availability and biosample availability, and omics-derived features such as differentially expressed genes and enriched signaling pathways. ARDaC system also provides GraphQL query interface, cloud-based workspace, and R and Python programming environments for in-depth data analysis. Specifically, if researchers are interested in proposing new data generation plan, ARDaC allows users to check sample availability, to visualize and evaluate the synergy of their data generation plans with existing data and funded projects, and to plan for new data generation plans. The ARDaC system is available at github.com/jing-su/ardac and ardac.org.
In summary, ARDaC is the central data hub connecting data of multiple modalities across clinical and translational teams, the engine to drive AlcHepNet research projects, the data interface between AlcHepNet consortium and research other data commons, and the research nexus to ignite new research and collaborations.
Team at Biostatistics and Health Data Science, Indiana University School of Medicine
Data modeling and harmonization
System development and visualization