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OncorMed Patents New Bioinformatics Method For Searching Databases

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GAITHERSBURG, Md.--OncorMed here has announced that it has received a US patent for a new bioinformatics method with applications ranging from an analytical tool in genomics discovery to a screening method for the identification of patients at risk for particular diseases.

The new method allows computers to search clinical databases to discover patterns that are predictive of specific diseases. According to OncorMed, it represents an enhancement over datamining and neural network systems because it is entirely data-driven and does not rely on human opinion to decide which cases represent patterns of disease.

First, using OncorMed's patented method, computers review clinical data on patients who have been diagnosed with a given disease. The review is used to establish rules that can be applied to other patient databases to help recognize individuals at risk for the disease. The same method can also be used to support the discovery of new disease-related genes by helping researchers quickly and inexpensively screen large databases to identify families whose DNA might hold additional clues, OncorMed said.

The patented method has already been used to discover new cancer syndromes from the data repository at the Hereditary Cancer Institute at Creighton University, for which OncorMed holds an exclusive license, the company noted. OncorMed said it expects the new method will be used in genomics collaborations. The product will be available through license or collaborative arrangements with OncorMed.

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