OHSU teams with Intel to decode root causes of cancer and other complex diseases

Multi-year collaboration seeks to combine Intel's expertise in extreme-scale computing with Oregon Health & Science University's biomedical imaging and genomics expertise to help make personalized genomic analysis faster and less costly

Jeffrey Bouley
PORTLAND, Ore.—Oregon Health & Science University(OHSU) and Intel Corp. announced in mid-April that they are teaming up todevelop next-generation computing technologies for advancing the field ofpersonalized medicine, with an eye toward "dramatically increasing the speed,precision and cost-effectiveness of analyzing a patient's individual geneticprofile."
 
 
To that end, the two organizations are forming a multi-yearresearch and engineering collaboration under which engineers and scientistsfrom the two institutions will develop hardware, software and workflowsolutions for Intel's extreme-scale, high-performance computing solutions that will be designed to cope with the unprecedented volume of complex biomedical data personalizedmedicine generates and will continue to generate.
 
 
"This collaboration combines Intel's strengths indeveloping energy-efficient, extreme-scale computing solutions with OHSU's leadin visualizing and understanding complex biological information," said StephenPawlowski, Intel senior fellow and chief technology officer of the company's Datacenterand Connected Systems Group, in an official statement. "We look forward to workingtogether with the goal of improving the efficiency of complex disease diagnosisand personalized treatment."
 
 
Intel's so-called extreme-scale computing isreportedly capable of handling billions of complex computations simultaneously,and this will be combined with OHSU's "four-dimensional" approach in imagingand analyzing the molecular-level drivers of cancer and other diseases. OHSU'simaging techniques are said to work like a "Google map" for cancer by providinga highly detailed view of how cells change over time at the molecular levelalong with a big-picture analysis of how the cells behave as a system.
 
The ultimate objective of the collaborations isn'tsimply to drive down costs or drive up efficiency but also to drive scientificprogress forward in understanding thegenetic origins of illness, starting with cancer, Ideally, by doing this at anindividual patient level the life-sciences and healthcare communities willbetter be able to make precision medicine a more routine model of patient careon a broad basis.
 
 
An integrated OHSU/Intel team is currently workingon a research data center equipped with an Intel supercomputing cluster. Alongwith top researchers from the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, the collaborationwill include computer scientists, biophysicists, genomicists,bio-informaticists, biologists and other experts. The team's first projectswill be focused on genetic profiling of patients' tumors to look for patternsin how the disease progresses and how to relate this information to how thetumor will respond to treatment.
 
 


Jeffrey Bouley

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