Personalized medicine 'arms race' continues to escalate

Joining an ever-growing list of healthcare facilities looking to improve personalized medicine, Oregon Health & Science University this week announced a partnership with Intel Corp. aimed at speeding genomic analysis efforts. Through the collaboration, OHSU and Intel researchers and engineers will work to create "next-generation computing technologies" that streamline the process of sorting through large amounts of biomedical data.

Initially, researchers will tailor their efforts toward cancer analysis. They plan to work on creating a "highly detailed circuit diagram of the genome" that will enable comparisons between individual patients and healthy genomes. That, in turn, will allow for isolation of genetic abnormalities, which then can be studied for links to cancer.

"To make a real difference for cancer patients, we need to know more about how the disease functions over time and within the body's multitude of systems," Joe Gray, associate director for translational research at the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, said in a statement. "That represents an enormous analytical challenge that is beyond the capability of current technology."

A New York Times article published this week compares several other similar efforts around the nation, referring to the aftermath as "an arms race within the war on cancer." It highlights a collaborative effort by Weill Cornell Medical College and New York-Presbyterian Hospital, in addition to projects at Mount Sinai's medical school, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Harvard Medical School.

Mayo Clinic and Children's Hospital Boston are among other hospitals that have announced partnerships this year that also push into the personalized medicine space.

To learn more:
- here's the OHSU announcement
- read the New York Times article