IBM Technology To Aid Medical Research In Sweden 2

IBM portal and data-management software will link Swedish researchers developing groundbreaking medical treatments.
The world's banks and financial institutions run on information technology. But IT is also becoming just as critical to another type of bank: biobanks, which store biological specimens, such as human tissue, and complex clinical data used by researchers as they collaborate to solve genetic mysteries and work to find cures for cancer and other diseases.

The samples and associated patient data in biobanks are used and analyzed by researchers as they study the long-term effects of exposure to environmental factors such as pollution, associations between genetic mutations and disease, and the effectiveness and side effects of new drugs and medical treatments.

IBM on Tuesday revealed an alliance with Karolinska Institutet, the Swedish research institute that awards the Nobel Prize, to build that country's first IT-enabled biobank. Currently, many Swedish biobanks function independently and store small amounts of clinical data. Under the agreement, however, Karolinska Institutet and IBM will team to integrate research projects across Sweden by developing data-collection standards and create an IT infrastructure to support collaboration among researchers that could help lead to quicker discoveries and more targeted cures for complex illnesses.

IBM products and technologies to be used for the project include WebSphere Portal Server, Data Discovery and Query Builder, and DB2 Information Integrator.

"This is molecular medicine meeting IT," says Mike Svinte, IBM's VP of information-based medicine. IBM's products and services will help integrate "lots of different data, including genomic and clinical information," as well as support secure research collaboration among Sweden's scientists, he says.

IBM provides technology and services to several other biobanks, including some in the United States.

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