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IBM Joins Forces With the Some of World’s Top Cancer Centers to Accelerate Research, Diagnosis and Treatment


IBM Collaborates With Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, the Molecular Profiling Institute and Sainte-Justine Research Center

WASHINGTON, DC -- Nov 8, 2005 -- IBM announced today it is joining forces with Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC), the Molecular Profiling Institute and the CHU Sainte-Justine Research Center - Mother and Child University Hospital Center under separate agreements to help accelerate cancer research, diagnosis and treatment. Recognizing the critical role that information technology (IT) will play in the 21st century in understanding and treating complex and deadly diseases like cancer, IBM is working with the people, technologies and partnerships needed to battle this deadly disease.

IBM and MSKCC are building a state-of-the-art integrated information management system to improve the ability of clinicians and researchers to study long-term cancer-related illnesses, identify disease trends and determine success rates. Funded by a $3 million grant of technology and services from IBM, MSKCC will include a comprehensive system to integrate its hospital data with text mining and related analytical capabilities into a unified information management environment to facilitate predictive analysis and research. In addition, pathologists at MSKCC are working closely with researchers at IBM to create a searchable database for pathology reports.

IBM is also teaming with the Molecular Profiling Institute and the CHU Sainte-Justine Research Center - Mother and Child University Hospital Center under separate agreements to accelerate cancer research, diagnosis and treatment.

“This is an excellent multi-sector model that can drive integration of molecular medicine into areas where it’s truly needed, including cancer detection, treatment, and ultimately prevention,” said Dr. Anna D. Barker, Deputy Director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI). “The convergence of advanced technologies and post-genomics science will change cancer medicine in ways we cannot yet envision. The NCI is enabling management of the data from this new era of biomedical research through our open source bioinformatics network, the Cancer Biomedical Informatics Grid (caBIG). Capturing and managing the unprecedented amounts of information generated from new technologies, and integrating the entire process from bench to the bedside, can help usher in the era of molecular oncology -- and provide a catalyst to transform all healthcare.”

Through the IBM-MSKCC pathology report project, researchers are working to create a system where information will automatically be extracted from thousands of pathology reports and mapped to a database. Most pathology reports are written in free text, where phrases and numbers need to be deciphered by the reader in context. Similar information could be expressed using different phrases depending on the doctor dictating the report and the year in which it was done. Through the work of IBM, past pathology reports at MSKCC are being mapped into standards formats. Information from the reports is being automatically extracted so that it can be organized into databases making it possible for researchers to query information more easily.

“Our research requires us to look at historical information, and at Memorial Sloan-Kettering, we have one of the largest repositories of patient records and tissue samples for cancer,” said Pat Skarulis, Vice President and CIO of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. “With the new functionality provided by the pathology search capability and mining we hope to will provide our staff with a greater level of insight into the data than has been available in the past,” said Dr. David Artz, Medical Director Information Systems at Memorial Sloan-Kettering.

Information technology not only has the potential to accelerate cancer research, it is also being applied today to help diagnose and treat cancer, leveraging our increasing molecular level understanding of this disease. To this end, IBM and the Molecular Profiling Institute have partnered to collaborate and harness new molecular profiling technologies to help diagnose ailments and access information to determine better treatment options. The technology being developed jointly will provide clinicians with diagnostic intelligence and analysis to assist them in making molecular distinctions when diagnosing and treating cancer patients.

It is a first step to making personalized diagnosis based on phenotype and genomic data possible and will send physicians and clinicians a tailored patient report based on the patient’s complete molecular profile. Molecular Profiling has a partnership with the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) to work together to accelerate genomic discoveries from bench to bedside. These genomic advances are communicated utilizing IBM to our physician partner organizations beginning with AmeriPath, Inc.

“Our ability to characterize an individual patient’s disease at a much greater level of detail in combination with our research partner’s ability to mine and translate molecular data will accelerate our applications to patient care,” said Dr. Robert Penny, Chief Executive Officer of the Molecular Profiling Institute. “IBM’s partnership with the Molecular Profiling Institute will help us get one step closer to the vision of personalized medicine based on integrated patient data and the latest advancements in molecular medicine.”

IBM’s experience in cancer research and clinical genomics is also being leveraged at the CHU Sainte-Justine Research Center - Mother and Child University Hospital Center, a university teaching hospital affiliated with the University of Montreal. IBM is working with the CHU to help develop an informatics infrastructure, based on IBM’s Clinical Genomics Solution, to better define the genetic markers for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).

Through the use of advanced technologies, the CHU’s researchers will have real-time access to a body of quality data, using technology that is easy to navigate and compatible with their needs. Clinical data that was once manually extracted from the hospital’s patient file will now be electronically transmitted and merged with genomic data to create a Medical Information Repository (MIR). This will reduce a query process from days to minutes and allow researchers to develop personalized therapies for various patients and keep longitudinal records.

“All research projects will eventually be supported from a single database and integrated infrastructure. And, starting now our physicians can access data in a way suited to their specific needs,” said Dr. Daniel Sinnett, associate professor at the University of Montreal and head of the leukemia-cancer section at the Research Center. “This means we can avoid duplicate entries, delete nominative information from clinical systems data and provide long-term follow-up with patients well into adulthood.”

The work with the CHU Sainte-Justine Research Center - Mother and Child University Hospital Center builds on IBM’s work with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. St. Jude operates an IBM supercomputer system that can perform more than 600 billion operations per second and allows St. Jude to accelerate medical research to find preventions, cures and new treatment options for catastrophic diseases in children, such as cancers, acquired and inherited immunodeficiencies and genetic disorders.

About IBM Healthcare and Life Sciences
IBM Healthcare and Life Sciences brings together IBM resources, including information technology, deep industry insights, and research expertise, to help clients develop and deliver safer, more affordable and more effective diagnostics, drugs and medical care.

About Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center is the world’s oldest and largest institution devoted to prevention, patient care, research and education in cancer. Its scientists and clinicians generate innovative approaches to better understand, diagnose and treat cancer. Its specialists are leaders in biomedical research and in translating the latest research to advance the standard of cancer care worldwide.

About the Molecular Profiling Institute
The Molecular Profiling Institute, Inc. is a specialty reference laboratory that helps cancer patients worldwide by applying the discoveries of the Human Genome Project to personalized medicine. Molecular Profiling provides cutting-edge testing facilities, products, and resources for genomic and proteomic profiling and treatment of cancers. Molecular Profiling is led by scientific visionaries, clinical oncologists, and drug developers with a proven track record of building successful companies and revolutionizing medicine.

About the CHU Sainte-Justine Research Center - Mother and Child University Hospital Center
St. Justine’s mission is to improve the health of children, adolescents and mothers in Québec. The clinical staff offers the best care available and also contributes to the training of most pediatric physicians and other mother-child healthcare professionals. The hospital’s research teams are dedicated to all the fields related to the health of mothers, children and adolescents. Assessing technology and promoting health are also part of the institution’s mission.

About St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is internationally recognized for its pioneering work in finding cures and saving children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases. Founded by late entertainer Danny Thomas and based in Memphis, Tennessee, St. Jude freely shares its discoveries with scientific and medical communities around the world. No family ever pays for treatments not covered by insurance, and families without insurance are never asked to pay. St. Jude is financially supported by ALSAC, its fund-raising organization. For more information, please visit


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