GENEVA--()--neuGRID, a cloud-computing infrastructure funded by the European Commission that stores and analyses a vast database of 3D brain scans, is now expanding globally to help find treatments for Alzheimer’s. This ground-breaking initiative will help develop a global online system to centralise and boost Alzheimer’s research initiatives.
Following its three-year development, neuGRID was successfully tested in 2009 when it extracted an Alzheimer’s biomarker in a record time of two weeks instead of the usual five years. outGRID, the international brand of neuGRID, is now seeking to converge neuGRID with two e-infrastructures (CBRAIN in Canada, LONI in the US) into one unique interoperable platform.
This will allow scientists worldwide to share their medical data while accessing the extensive information available online, thus helping them to draw more precise conclusions about the onset and development of Alzheimer’s.
Dr Giovanni Frisoni, neuGRID and outGRID coordinator and Vice Scientific Director of San Giovanni di Dio Fatebenefratelli Institute, says: “outGRID will allow for fully exploiting research efforts developed around the world, which are currently fragmented and often duplicated. Most countries are devoting resources to neuroimaging studies on earlier Alzheimer’s diagnosis and the development of disease markers to be used in clinical drug trials, but a lack of coordination between these initiatives limits the prospect of making substantial scientific advancements”.
outGRID is now reaching unprecedented momentum with a high-level workshop co-organised with the United Nations’ International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in Geneva on 20-21 February with speakers from the European Commission and the World Health Organization. Aiming to foster international partnerships and garner additional government support, the event will promote the signing of a consensus document with scientific centres in India and Canada.
Kostas Glinos, Head of Unit for e-infrastructure at the European Commission’s Directorate General for Information Society (DG INFSO), explains: “outGRID responds to today’s pressing need for effective computational tools to support Alzheimer’s research. With the strong commitment of research centres and support of public funds, outGRID should succeed in establishing a global infrastructure that maximises the use of MRIs and accelerates progress in combatting Alzheimer’s, for the benefit of millions of patients and their families.”
With the proven success of neuGRID in Europe and these newly established international partnerships, outGRID is now one step closer to its goal of reaching full interoperability between scientific research centres worldwide, facilitating the earlier diagnosis of Alzheimer’s.