Combating Cancer with Data Research

By CIOReview | Wednesday, June 13, 2018

At age 45, Intel employee Bryce Olson was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic prostate cancer. The diagnosis drove Olson to the brink of life sciences, a point where computational analysis of human DNA and bioscience coincide. This development could very well be a new age of precision medicine pushing healthcare systems into a whole new direction. In his battle against cancer, the Oregon resident and the medical team at the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) Knight Cancer Institute decided to have Bryce's tumor DNA analyzed to gain a more profound and broader understanding of his disease at a molecular level. A full genome sequenced produces information for 20,000 genes, which means terabytes of data. They hope to find clues that will lead to the right treatment by uncovering the root of his aggressive form of cancer.

However, to examine and convert that data into actionable results is expensive and time-consuming. OHSU is collaborating with Intel to understand how this data can be generated faster, cheaper and securely utilized for further research and development.

The advantages of entire genomics precision medicine are not just restricted to cancer patients. Any sickness or health problem, diagnosable by DNA research is worth a chance, where one can visualize the molecular aberration that is feeding that disease. Rare genetic diseases are one such breakthrough application that could change the whole health and medicine landscape.

For now, OHSU and Intel are jointly steering into newer territories, believing that it could direct pharmaceutical companies to produce advanced drugs or assist doctors and medical experts to obtain the right compound of drugs to end or slow down Bryce's disease along with treating patients with similar health problems.