Supercomputers enlisted in fight against cancer
- By Amanda Ziadeh
- Feb 18, 2016
Researchers are bringing out the big guns in their fight against cancer.
An interagency initiative aims to advance cancer science by applying the processing power of exascale supercomputing to the massive amount of data generated by cancer research, with the ultimate goal of identifying a specific clinical treatment for a patient’s cancer.
Scientists at the National Cancer Institute, the Department of Energy’s Exascale Computing Initiative and the National Strategic Computing Initiative have been working together for over a year to harness the power of these computers for clinical purposes. Ideally, the computers would screen a tumor sample against thousands of drugs and drug combinations to accurately determine the best treatment, according to an NCI blog post.
This NCI-DOE partnership would not only expand NCI’s research, but also advance DOE’s efforts towards energy-efficient exascale computing, which already is being used in projects such as reverse-engineering the human brain and designing renewable energy resources.
This collaboration also supports the goals of NCI’s Precision Medicine Initiative by developing new computational approaches to support cancer research, by using high-performance computing to develop laboratory models of cancer based on patient information and by exploring the benefits of therapies outside traditional clinical trials.
Ultimately, the agencies hope the combination of research, computational modeling and supercomputing will advance both cancer research and strategic computing, provide new opportunities for cancer investigators worldwide and launch a platform for next-generation cancer treatment.
Amanda Ziadeh is a former reporter/producer for GCN.