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Scientists Take Data Approach to Beat Disease

Monash Weekly

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Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria.

Researchers are working to enable the mapping of a patient's entire genome, to help identify the sources of a wide variety of ailments.

Credit: WikiMedia Commons

Researchers across Australia are working with the Royal Children's Hospital's Murdoch Childrens Research Institute (MCRI) to combine computer hardware and programming with genetic sequencing tools to sequence the entire genome of patients to identify the source of a wide variety of ailments.

"New technology allows us to not just sequence one gene or a couple of genes, but all the genes in a patient at once," says MCRI professor Andrew Sinclair.

The researchers developed algorithms that can quickly sequence genes and compare them with the human genome map to find mutations.

Meanwhile, at National ICT Australia (NICTA), the Victoria Research Laboratory is working on three programs related to the treatment of cancer and other conditions, including better treatment of the one-third of cancers whose original source is unknown. The process involves examining a patient's genetic profile, measuring 25,000 genes in the tumor, and then applying machine-learning techniques to identify patterns in the data.

"With some expert knowledge in the hardware architecture, the algorithms, and the mathematics behind it, you can reduce those calculations to minutes," says NICTA researcher Geoff Macintyre.

From Monash Weekly
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