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Heart Assoc, Amazon Partner on Precision Medicine Data

Heart check

(Gerd Altmann, Pixabay)

17 March 2017. American Heart Association and Amazon Web Services are collecting data from researchers to advance precision medicine in cardiovascular diseases and stroke. Some 8 organizations and institutions already plan to providing studies for this database, but the project’s organizers are asking for more.

The Precision Medicine Platform is an initiative of the Heart Association’s Institute for Precision Cardiovascular Medicine that’s compiling the research findings. These results, when combined into a single database, provide tools for analysts to glean insights into more complex interactions between genetics and cardiovascular disorders. The organizers of the database are particularly interested in findings from clinical trials, long-running epidemiological studies, patient registries, and real-time health data acquired through wearable devices and technology.

“The platform provides an opportunity to learn, search and discover in new and efficient ways,” says Jennifer Hall, Chief of the Institute for Precision Cardiovascular Medicine in an association statement, “and we will keep working with the community to weave in new diverse data to help us drill deeper and enrich our understanding.” So far 8 organizations and companies are providing data for the platform: drug maker AstraZeneca, Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute, Dallas Heart Study, Duke Cardiovascular Research Institute, Intermountain Health, the International Stroke Genetics Consortium, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, and Stanford University.

Laura Stevens, a computational biologist at University of Colorado medical school and early user of the database adds, “The platform makes big data analyses much quicker and easier. It’s a great foundation for implementing precision medicine and research in a clinical setting.”

The association says Precision Medicine Platform not only collects the data, it also provides tools for integrating and harmonizing the findings from multiple sources. Amazon Web Services already offers cloud computing and hosting  to support genomics and big data analytics for health care and life science enterprises. Researchers can register and access current data for free, but Amazon Web Services will charge a fee to make use of its cloud computing capabilities.

American Heart Association and Amazon Web Services are also collaborating on grants and fellowships for researchers that make use of cloud computing. As reported by Science and Enterprise in July 2016, the organizations offered several types of awards at the time, of which 2 programs are still available:

Methods validation grants, for validating existing algorithms and analytic tools to predict clinical outcomes. The 2-year $200,000 grants will be supplemented with up to $150,000 per year in Amazon Web Services credits.

Institutional data fellowships, institutional grants for 2 years to focus on educating and training the next generation of researchers in cloud computing.

New grant programs for precision medicine drug discovery are also available. Deadlines for these grant applications occur in April and June 2017. The following video tells more about the initiative.

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