NCI taps start-up GNS's supercomputing tech for lung cancer analysis

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) wants to employ some supercomputers to help its researchers conquer lung cancer--the cancer causing the most deaths among Americans. GNS Healthcare, a provider of "Big Data" analytics for health customers, says today that it is working with the NCI on a new effort to match non-small cell lung cancer patients with appropriate treatments.

GNS is initially putting its supercomputing-enabled reverse-engineering forward-simulation platform to work with mouse MRI and genetic (or, more specifically, transcriptomic) data from NCI's Center for Advanced Preclinical Research. With the data, GNS aims to uncover potential biomarkers and biological networks that could be used in personalizing cancer treatments. The disease models that result from the computer-based experiments could also be used to inform later research to find new treatment options for patients.

This collaboration could raise GNS's profile in the oncology community. As GNS co-founder and CEO Colin Hill recently told FierceBiotech IT in an interview, the company has been seeking new opportunities to show that its technology can play a key role in advancing personalized treatments. The company has previously worked in the oncology drug arena with Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ), according to Hill. So the start-up has some experience in applying its technology to this field.

"GNS is excited to be deploying our supercomputer-driven (technology) to enable the maximal extraction of actionable knowledge from the rich lung cancer datasets generated by the NCI," GNS executive vice president and co-founder Iya Khalil, said. "Combined with the expertise of our NCI colleagues in lung cancer biology and in designing powerful experiments to uncover its key mechanisms, we are creating the opportunity to provide better outcomes for lung cancer patients."

- here's the GNS release