IBM and Mayo Clinic Collaborate on System to Advance Medical Science

High-tech Initiative Aims to Give Mayo Clinic Investigators Fast Access to Genomic Information, Clinical and Lab Tests, Demographics and Other Data to Support Clinical Trials and Identify Improved Treatment Decisions.

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SOMERS, N.Y. & ROCHESTER, Minn. - 25 Mar 2002: IBM and Mayo Clinic today announced an agreement to jointly develop an information system designed to give Mayo Clinic investigators access to information that can help them identify potential clinical trial participants faster.

More than 500,000 patients from around the world visit Mayo Clinic each year for medical care. When completed, the new system could enable Mayo Clinic's medical staff, including 2,400 physicians and scientists in more than 100 specialty areas, to quickly draw meaning from a wealth of medical data to support medical treatments, including genomic information from public and private databases and retrospective studies of millions of archived records collected from informed, consenting patients.

During the first phase of joint development, the database system will be fully loaded with archival data that can immediately support and enhance a wide variety of research, including epidemiological studies of selected disease categories. This initial work, which will be completed in the second quarter of this year, could enable Mayo Clinic investigators to begin correlating patient data, including demographics, diagnoses and results of tests performed to establish these diagnoses.

The goal of subsequent phases will be to bring in aggregate patient genomic information, as well as proteomic data and research information, from a variety of databases, while always protecting the confidentiality of Mayo Clinic patients.

"Our goal is to help Mayo Clinic quicken the pace of clinical research and positively impact the treatment of patients at the world's largest private health care organization," said Jeff Augen, Ph.D., director of Strategy, IBM Life Sciences. "This will be one of the most comprehensive and complex information systems ever developed for clinical investigation, designed to help investigators understand illnesses on a molecular level and support improved treatment decisions."

The system will help investigators identify research participants that meet very thorough, precise and complex clinical trial criteria. It will also help investigators conduct large-scale clinical research across a broad range of diseases, complex diagnoses and treatment categories. Mayo Clinic data provides an unusually wide breadth of information that can be electronically aggregated and researched retrospectively. For example, seven million Americans suffer from chronic inflammation, such as arthritis, bursitis and other joint diseases. In the future, Mayo Clinic physicians may be able to consult databases of historical data on millions of similar patients to determine the most effective course of treatment for an individual patient.

"The Mayo Clinic delivers among the highest level of patient care available in the world, and we are committed to continually improving our capabilities by gaining new knowledge through research," said Dr. Piet de Groen, the Mayo project director of this collaboration and consultant, Mayo Clinic Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology. "When completed, this new system will immediately benefit our research activities by providing investigators with rapid access to clinical data for use in ongoing research activities."

The information system is based upon IBM DB2 database software, which can manage the massive patient record archives and provide long-term scalability when new data is added. IBM has developed new data warehousing technologies to address Mayo Clinic's unique requirements for patient confidentiality, structuring and querying heterogeneous medical records. The system is being designed to provide links to other public and private data sources using IBM's DiscoveryLink data integration software.

To ensure that research teams have fast access to information, the system will run on a powerful IBM eServer pSeries system running AIX, IBM's UNIX operating system. The system will be augmented by IBM WebSphere Internet infrastructure software.

Background Information
IBM Life Sciences brings together IBM resources, from research, services and e-business expertise to data and storage management and high-performance computing, to offer new solutions for the life sciences market, including biotechnology, genomic, e-health, pharmaceutical and agri-science industries. The fastest way to get more information about IBM Life Sciences is through its Web site,

More information on Mayo Clinic can be found at

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* IBM, AIX, DB2, DiscoveryLink, eServer, pSeries, and WebSphere are trademarks or registered trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation in the United States, others countries, or both. UNIX is a registered trademark in the United States and other countries licensed exclusively through The Open Group.

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