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HPC and Genomics: Next-Generation Sequencing Altering the Patient Care Landscape

BillMannel

 

In this competitive global marketplace, organizations of every size and industry are striving to achieve greater speed, efficiency, accuracy, and savings. IT departments are rapidly adopting powerful new technologies in order to enhance operational processes and boost compute resources, as customers demand more personalized services at reduced costs.

Advancements in high-performance computing (HPC) have led to major scientific breakthroughs and technological innovation. The life sciences industry in particular is realizing the effects of this massive paradigm shift – with improvements to each stage of the research and development process, as well as patient care.

Over the past decade, life sciences organizations have undergone a total IT transformation. Clinical testing which was once expensive and time-consuming can now be completed quickly and cost-effectively, thanks to cutting-edge software and industry-specific tools. Today’s scientists and healthcare professionals are leveraging these HPC solutions to solve the world’s greatest health problems and accelerate the diagnoses and treatment of a variety of medical conditions.

How next-gen precision medicine drives significant improvement in genomics

Genomic sequencing – or “decoding” the human genome – helps scientists understand a person’s genetic makeup, making it possible to pinpoint genes that affect the growth, development, and maintenance of the entire bHPC Life Sciences Genmoe_blog_400x267.jpgody. Recent progress in computing technologies allows researchers to map extensive chains of the human genome, and analyze the DNA of healthy individuals in order to identify chromosomes or mutations that could develop into a genetic condition.

These medical breakthroughs not only improve our ability to treat diseases, but also to predict and prevent diseases before they occur. But the cost has been high.

Next-generation sequencing (NGS) tools produce vast quantities of genetic data which poses a growing number of challenges to life sciences organizations. Accelerating analytics, providing adequate storage and memory capacity, speeding time-to-insight, and reducing costs are major concerns for IT department operating on traditional computing systems.

Thanks to advancements in HPC, NGS technology can deliver new levels of scalability and speed. Genomic workloads that once cost upwards of $1 billion and took years to complete now cost US$1,245 and can be sequenced in under a day. Additional benefits of NGS applications include:

  • Identifying rare genetic mutations and variations
  • Genetic profiling of cancer-causing mutations
  • Deeper analysis to develop personalized treatment plans
  • Predictive medicine enabling a historically proven course of treatment
  • Medicines intelligently prescribed based on patients’ genetic tendencies

The proliferation of NGS is producing explosive volumes of genetic data, providing widespread access to historical medical data. As genomic information becomes more readily available, researchers will be able to improve the speed and accuracy of genetic mapping in order to build more detailed patient health profiles. According to the PLoS Biology journal, as many as two billion human genomes could be sequenced by 2025.

DNA SequencingJ.jpg                                                                               Source: PLoS Biology, 2015

As the need for genomic sequencing continues to rise, organizations are adopting a new style of IT in order to keep pace. HPC technologies specifically designed for NGS can help organizations sequence genomes faster, while delivering scalability, ease of installation, and cost-savings.

These innovations will continue to play a key role in patient health, as the life sciences industry strives to analyze, share, and enact on growing levels of genomic data. To learn more about the incredible health benefits of NGS, I invite you to follow me on Twitter at @Bill_Mannel.

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About the Author

BillMannel

As the Vice President and General Manager of HPC and AI Segment Solutions in the Data Center Infrastructure Group, I lead worldwide business and portfolio strategy and execution for the fastest growing market segments in HPE’s Data Center Infrastructure Group which includes the recent SGI acquisition and the HPE Apollo portfolio.