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IBM, Mass. General Hospital Study Grid For Cancer Research

IBM and Massachusetts General Hospital, a Boston teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School, are working together to study how the development of a grid-based, distributed computing infrastructure can facilitate improved collaboration and information sharing among cancer researchers.

Working with cancer researcher Dr. Thomas Deisboeck, of MGH's Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, IBM said its computer scientists at the company's Cambridge, Mass., research lab have built a grid of high-performance computers designed to improve information sharing and help researchers gain new insight through advanced brain tumor modeling and simulation.

The grid includes IBM eServer pSeries supercomputers on Harvard's Crimson Grid and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, linked with multiple IBM eServer Bladecenter servers at the IBM's Cambridge facility.

In October, Deisboeck was one of nine research leaders receiving a total of $14.9 million in National Cancer Institute funding to establish an Integrative Cancer Biology Program. Centers participating in that multi-institutional program will incorporate a spectrum of new approaches and technologies -- including genomics, proteomics, and molecular imaging -- to design mathematical models and generate computer simulations that could improve the understanding of tumor growth.

By establishing the cancer bilogy program, the NCI has acknowledged the need to generate complex synthetic models of cancer, said IBM. At the same time, the NCI has identified the lack of common technical standards and tools for information sharing among cancer researchers and institutions as a significant inhibitor to more rapid progress in the fight against cancer.

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