SUNY Researchers Aim To Leverage Analytics Tools for MS Research

Researchers from the State University of New York-Buffalo and IBM have announced plans to leverage data analytics technology to comb through large-scale databases and identify genetic, clinical and environmental factors that could be associated with multiple sclerosis, InformationWeek reports.

How the Project Will Work

Researchers will use IBM's Netezza analytics application and software from Revolution Analytics to evaluate more than 2,000 genetic and environmental factors that could be linked with MS, such as geography, ethnicity and living conditions.

To identify these factors, researchers will analyze data from:

  • Medical records;
  • Laboratory results;
  • MRI scans;
  • Patient surveys; and
  • Genomic datasets from NIH and other sources.

Goals of Project

Researchers hope the data analytics project will help them identify factors that could play a role in MS.

Shawn Dolley -- IBM's vice president of big data, health care and life sciences -- said, "The payoff for us is to find something new: a strain of MS or some phenotype variable that says something about the patients, such as whether these folks will respond to a particular type of treatment that will emerge as a set of clinical trials or drug discovery" (Terry, InformationWeek, 5/1).

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