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UK Research Hospital Taps IDBS to Develop IT Infrastructure for Translational Medicine


By Uduak Grace Thomas

IDBS said this week that it is partnering with UK research hospital King's Health Partners on a nine-year project that aims to use patients' genomic and clinical profiles to develop individualized cancer therapies.

As part of the partnership, IDBS has implemented a translational medicine-informatics platform at KHP's Integrated Cancer Center called the Oncology Research Information System, or ORIS.

The platform, which integrates genomic and clinical data from about 6,000 patients, is expected to enable clinical researchers to explore how these factors affect health outcomes and suggest the most effective therapies.

In a statement, Peter Parker, who heads the cancer studies division at KHP, said the consortium selected IDBS for the project because the company "demonstrated a unique understanding of the complexities of translational medicine, core software provision, and solution integration" required for the program.

KHP comprises King's College London and three National Health Science Foundation Trusts: Guy’s and St Thomas’, King’s College Hospital, and South London and Maudsley.

ORIS is expected to help improve cancer treatments by enabling users to share information about patient outcomes and by providing a single searchable hub for clinical, diagnostic, pathological, sample, research, and genomics information integrated from multiple sources. IDBS also expects the platform to lead to partnerships with biopharma and diagnostics companies looking to create more targeted tests and treatments.

The partnership extends IDBS' presence in the translational-informatics field, which it has identified as a growth area for its suite of InforSense workflow and data-mining tools.

Last year, the company signed an agreement with the UK's Barts and the London NIHR Cardiovascular Biomedical Research Unit to use the InforSense suite to study the effects of genes on cardiovascular disease, and to examine the impact of genomic variations on disease treatment (BI 7/2/2010).

The InforSense software also supports translational research projects at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, the Windber Research Institute, and the Erasmus Medical Center (BI 4/21/2008).

In a statement announcing its financial results for full-year 2010, IDBS said that it is increasingly using the InforSense tools to provide "enabling technologies for hospitals, clinics, and researchers seeking to accelerate the provision of personalized medicine and diagnostics" across the Europe and the US.

The company added that this activity "started to contribute to revenues in the second half of 2010 and is expected to be a major future growth driver for the healthcare business."

The privately held firm reported that 2010 revenues increased 27 percent to $46.2 million from $36.4 million in 2009, but did not break out revenues for its different divisions.

Partner Technologies

Paul Denny-Gouldson, IDBS vice president of translational medicine, told BioInform this week that in addition to IDBS's core technology, ORIS incorporates technologies from its partners, specifically Oracle, Quantix, and Orion Health.

He explained that at its base, ORIS has a data-integration layer using a system provided by Orion Health that includes HL7 messaging capabilities that enable the platform to receive patient data from transactional and real-time systems.

Past the data-integration layer is an optional "pseudonymization" step that removes identifying patient information, replacing it with a unique identifier that can be used to de-anonymize the data if necessary, for example to contact patients for clinical trials.

The data then passes into Oracle Health Transaction Base — a clinical repository — which stores the data "in a structured fashion," Denny-Gouldson said. The repository also stores -omics data, sample information, and other types of clinical research data.

A built-in disease-ontology service normalizes the patient data and a business rules engine allows users to perform quality checks and score data.

On the front end, clinicians and clinical researchers have access to a patient cohort-stratification and -analytics tool that allows users to stratify patients using several attributes — which could be phenotypic or genotypic — with just a few mouse clicks, Denny-Gouldson said.

The platform also incorporates the functionality of several statistical programs such as SAS and R, which enable researchers to run statistical analyses on patient cohorts, such as survival analysis or ANOVA or T-tests.

On the -omics side, users have access to a set of tools to analyze copy number variants, SNP data from next-gen sequencing platforms, and array-based technologies, among others. These capabilities enable clinicians to stratify patients based on genomic, proteomic, or metabolomic markers, and also offer a way to capture and store the results of their analyses.

As a first step, KHP will use the platform to tackle breast cancer before moving on to other cancer types, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes, among other ailments.

Furthermore, IDBS plans to market the platform to clinics and other research institutions.

Representatives from King's Health Partners could not be reached for comment in time for this article.

Have topics you'd like to see covered in BioInform? Contact the editor at uthomas [at] genomeweb [.] com.

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