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Mayo Clinic Seeks Genomic Tool and Tech Shops for Help With Novel Patient Database

NEW YORK, March 26 - The Mayo Clinic is pursuing collaborations with genomic tool and technology companies to help it fulfill an ambitious plan of creating a comprehensive gene-based patient-data library, a Mayo spokesman told GenomeWeb on Tuesday.

The Clinic's ultimate intent, which has already signed on IBM as a partner, is to create a massive catalog of genomic data that might eventually become the health-care behemoth's home-grown entree into personalized medicine.


The Mayo has agreed to let IBM provide software, hardware, and services, and it said it hopes to strike similar collaborations with academia and industry. Though the spokesman would not disclose the names of genomic tool and tech shops with which it is actively seeking alliances, he told GenomeWeb that they will likely be makers of genotyping tools, sequencers, and arrays--in short, everything researchers would need to collect and generate a patient's genomic picture and compare it with others with similar disease states.


The spokesman, John Murphy, said the Clinic may announce initial collaborations "in the next couple of months."


The Mayo would not say how much it will cost to develop its database, but reports show the facility is ready to spend a "big chunk" of the $80 million it has already slated for genomic research over the next four years.


Some 80 researchers from the Mayo and IBM have already set out to integrate the medical center's patient-record system. This effort, the first phase of a three-phase project, has been designed to catalog archived data from four million of the Mayo's six million patients and have that information accessible by every part of the clinic. Some of the data to be cataloged include genomic information, particularly from patients with cancer. It should be up and running in July, the Mayo said.


Phase two would include storing and analyzing greater amounts of genetic data, and phase 3 will bring codify patients' proteomic data.

The database itself is based on IBM's DB2 software, which will run on an IBM eServer pSeries system running AIX, IBM's UNIX operating system. The system will be augmented by IBM WebSphere Internet infrastructure software.

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