Cancer Project Using Supercomputer Grid Drastically Cuts Research Time - InformationWeek

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Cancer Project Using Supercomputer Grid Drastically Cuts Research Time

World Community Grid cancer project reduces to only one day the analysis of cancer specimens that would've taken 130 years with traditional computers

A new cancer project underway using the World Community Grid can reduce to only one day the analysis of cancer specimens that would've taken 130 years with traditional computers. Yes, that's 130 years, not days.

The new Help Defeat Cancer initiative, announced on Thursday by IBM, will provide researchers and scientists with the ability to harness supercomputer power, allowing them to simultaneously analyze in one day a volume of cancer biopsy specimens, or tissue microarrays, that would take 13 decades to do with standard PCs.

Analysis of the specimens, including identifying a specific type and stage of cancer, as well as biomarkers and genetic characteristics, requires special algorithms and "incredible numbers crunching," says Dr. David Foran, professor of pathology and director of the Center for Biomedical Imaging at the UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and a co-director of the immuno-histochemistry shared resources program of The Cancer Institute of New Jersey.

Tissue microarrays are relatively new investigative tools that can help researchers investigate which therapies or combinations of treatments are most likely to be effective for different kinds or stages of cancer based upon the known outcomes of individual patients, biomarkers, and other factors.

The Help Defeat Cancer project is the latest initiative of the World Community Grid, in which idle time of more than 360,000 computers running Linux, Windows, or Mac operating systems have been volunteered by 200,000 individuals to aid scientists and doctors in advanced research of cancer, AIDS, and human proteome, or proteins.

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