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American Heart Association Taps Amazon to Support Precision Cardiovascular Research

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The American Heart Association (AHA) said today that it will use cloud computing technology from Amazon Web Services (AWS) to support research on cardiovascular science and medicine at the AHA-funded Institute for Precision Cardiovascular Medicine.

The AHA has allocated $30 million over five years to launch the Precision Cardiovascular Medicine institute and hopes to raise an additional $100 million to $200 million from an ongoing fundraising campaign. The institute will support research into the genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that affect the cardiovascular health of individuals and populations, with an eye towards improving patient health and reducing healthcare costs.

According to the AHA's website, the institute will enable the exchange of integrative knowledge, support strategic collaborations, as well as offer opportunities for patient participation. One of its early projects will be the development of the AHA Precision Medicine Platform, a data discovery portal that will engage clinicians, researchers, information scientists, and computer engineers to gather, harmonize, and analyze cardiovascular data on a large-scale.

The AHA also plans to award 14 grants over 12 months for fellowships and projects on data mining, methods validation, and innovative development. These grants are intended to foster cross-disciplinary learning, research, and collaboration among biomedical researchers, the association said. As part of their partnership, Amazon will provide free credits to grant recipients that they can spend on compute storage or analysis resources on AWS.

Data mining grants will fund projects that aim to identify patterns within existing datasets, and establish standards for organizing and categorizing cardiovascular disease data; methods validation grants will focus on projects that aim to validate existing computational methods for predicting outcomes; innovative development grants will support efforts to build new tools and protocols for analyzing data; and fellowship awards will fund cross-training efforts. The AHA said it will also provide cash incentives for grant awardees with the best ideas for enhancing and enabling data discovery.

"The promise of precision cardiovascular medicine and care can be realized when research and technology come together to deliver new insights," AHA CEO Nancy Brown said in a statement. "The AHA and AWS collaboration will unite the global research community to accelerate discovery in cardiovascular health and usher in a new era of tailored prevention and treatment that will help patients and lessen the global burden of cardiovascular disease."