Personalized medicine is a goal of the Department of Health and Human Services. It is a driver of genomic research. It is one version of the future of medicine, using our unique genetic code toward the prevention of disease and the use of more effective or safer tailored drug therapies. Cloud computing enables access to the computational resources needed, on demand, for the data analysis needed to lay the groundwork for revolution in health care.
The Presidential Symposium at this year’s American Society of Human Genetics conference focused on the implementation of personalized medicine. The BioIt World Conference and Expo will highlight the personal genome for its 2010 conference. The need for the computation and storage resources to conduct genome wide association studies and analyze the structural variation in individual humans is enormous and expanding. Large research institutions and small labs are turning to cloud computing to supplement existing infrastructure for this research.
GenomeQuest offers a private cloud solution supporting the work of commercial and institutional labs of all sizes working on personalized genomics. Others are turning to public cloud providers.
To enable postdoctoral researchers to focus on the specialized skill of building simulations and models for genetic testing, Dr. Peter Tonellato at the Laboratory for Personalized Medicine (LPM), of the Center for Biomedical Informatics at Harvard Medical School used Amazon Web Services rather than outfitting a new data center. This allowed his team to focus on research and not hardware procurement and IT.
Focus on expertise, available, on-demand resources, and the agility to experiment with big ideas will continue to draw some personal genomics researchers to public cloud computing.