Sinking its teeth deeper into the health care industry, IBM this week agreed to let Mayo Clinic use its Blue Gene supercomputer to research diseases.
The goal is to tap into the abundance of new data to foster medical breakthroughs, according to a statement. Financial terms of the pact were not made public, but IBM and the Mayo Clinic said they would spend ”millions of dollars per year in manpower, research and technology.”
The Mayo Clinic will be the first medical institution to use the power of Blue Gene, accessing specialized algorithms to perform molecular modeling. IBM and the clinic will also aim to map current and historical patient records and link them to new types of medical information.
”Our collaboration with IBM is focused on advancing the Mayo Clinic mission in the areas of patient care and research,” said Denis Cortese, M.D., president and CEO of Mayo Clinic. ”We are at a point with standards in technology and new genomic-based analytic techniques where we can achieve more in the next 10 years than we’ve achieved in the last 100, and we see in IBM a partner with a very unique capacity to deliver expertise and innovation.”
IBM and Mayo Clinic have already integrated 4.4 million patient records into a unified system, making it easier for physicians and researchers to call up info.
Going forward, both Big Blue and Mayo will integrate genomic and proteomic data with clinical records and public databases for use by physicians. The companies will also use Blue Gene to compare patient data to the data of other patients with similar disease characteristics.
For example, a doctor might be able to pinpoint the exact location of a patient’s cancer, as well as its gene characteristics, and make a prognostication based on the outcomes of therapy in the last 500 patients with similar cancer.
The multi-billion-dollar medical field is a lucrative one for IBM and other high-tech companies, which are all jockeying for position in the world’s largest life sciences companies.
IBM has locked down the Mayo Clinic since 2001 and Blue Gene, one of the company’s most popular supercomputers, has been used by several government organizations for research. Last November, IBM introduced a smaller version of Blue Gene.
This article was first published on internetnews.com.