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UK Cardiac Hospital To Use IDBS InforSense Suite for Cardiovascular Disease Research

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By Uduak Grace Thomas

IDBS said this week that a UK cardiac hospital will use the company's InforSense Suite to analyze and visualize data in a new cardiovascular research center.

The Barts and the London NIHR Cardiovascular Biomedical Research Unit, which opened at the London Chest Hospital in May, is funded by a £5.45 million ($8.27 million) grant from the UK's National Institute for Health Research

Chris Molloy, VP of business development at IDBS, told BioInform that the new research unit plans to use the suite to study the effects of genes on cardiovascular disease and also to examine the impact of genomic variations on disease treatment.

The hospital "is looking to use existing and newly generated data combined in our infrastructure and analyzed through our analytical applications to understand the patient population more effectively,” he said.

According to Molloy, one of the major tools of the suite that researchers will use is the ClinicalSense application, which allows researchers to stratify patients as well as select cohorts of patients for further genomic and proteomic analyses.

In addition to providing its current suite of tools, IDBS plans to build a central data warehouse to be housed at the Trust to store current patient clinical and biochemical data as well as data generated during the project.

“The hospital will make data available to this warehouse and it will be from that warehouse that the clinical and genomic information may be analyzed by our applications,” Molloy said.

The goal of the new center is to “characterize in more detail the response of patients to new therapies and develop unique cardiovascular imaging strategies," said Mark Caulfield, director of the Barts and the London NIHR Cardiovascular Biomedical Research Unit, in a statement last month.

Studies will include "the use of beetroot juice as a method to reduce blood pressure, innovative approaches to cardiovascular adult stem cell therapy and cutting-edge cardiovascular imaging," Caulfield said.

The unit plans to specialize in six areas of research: genetics and biomarkers of cardiovascular disease; cardiovascular stem cell therapy; translational vascular pharmacology; ischemia reperfusion injury and microcirculation research; translational cardiac electrophysiology and device research; and translational advanced cardiovascular imaging.

Jonathan Sheldon, director of translational research at IDBS, described the company’s partnership with Barts as “further validation" of the company's translational research solution.

Sheldon said that a “key differentiator” for IDBS in the translational research space is that the company already has a “product-based solution” available for clinicians and researchers.

“We aren’t going in there saying we are going to build you something from scratch,” he said. “We actually have a product that’s been deployed now and that’s been sort of tried and tested over the years.”

The platform has been used in several translational research projects focused on cancer, including efforts at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, the Windber Research Institute, and the Erasmus Medical Center (BI 4/21/2008).

When IDBS acquired InforSense and the InforSense platform last year, Molloy told BioInform that the company planned to leverage the platform to make deeper inroads into the translational medicine and personalized medicine space.

The IDBS Biomarker Discovery and Validation Solution, which is part of the InforSense suite, is among several components in the Lung Genomics Research Consortium infrastructure being built by Dana Farber.

The infrastructure will be used to coordinate and analyze data for the consortium, which aims to add genetic, genomic, and epigenetic data and analysis tools to an existing clinical biorepository at the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (BI 2/11/2010).

While previous projects that have used InforSense have been focused on cancer, Sheldon said that the company does not expect that it will have to make significant changes to the platform to adapt it for cardiovascular disease research.

“The kinds of analysis that you carry out and the kinds of presentations and visualizations that clinicians and scientists will want to see in their data are the same whether they are working in cardiovascular or oncology,” he said.

“In terms of the disease biology, that may be specific to cardiovascular versus oncology. A lot of that is contained in the ontologies that can be supported by the ClinicalSense product.”

Sheldon said that the company plans to deliver “various pieces of functionality” over the next year to give scientists at Barts an opportunity to use the infrastructure and give feedback.

Molloy said that the company expects that the platform will continue to be used in projects focused on other disease areas in the translational research arena.

"The concepts behind how one brings together medical, clinical information and runs biochemical information orthogonally through that to have a really deep and rich understanding of what drives disease, are pretty much the same no matter which disease area you go into,” he said.

To that end, a part of the company’s marketing strategy involves holding translational medicine symposia, in both Europe and in the US. During these meetings, Chris said, the company invites customers to present how they are using the platform in their translational research studies.

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