A key part of the Westmead-based Children’s Medical Research Institute’s ProCan® project is closer to being realised, following the announcement of a research equipment grant from Cancer Institute NSW last week.
ProCan is a world-leading project aimed at changing how we diagnose and treat all types of cancer. In 5-7 years, it will be possible to give a patient a precise diagnosis and tailored treatment plan within 36 hours of receiving a cancer biopsy.
The $910,000 boost will go towards a high-performance computing platform for cancer proteogenomic research – which is needed to make the whole ProCan project possible. ProCan General Manager, Dr Brett Tully, who is also lead of the ProCan Software Engineering Team, said the funding will go towards their “super computer’’.
“Very few institutes get a piece of equipment for one particular project like this,’’ Dr Tully said. “This has been designed primarily for ProCan, but it is a real collaboration among many partner organisations.’’
ProCan needs to analyse the proteins, or proteomes, from tens of thousands of cancer samples. They will then be compared with profiles from patients where outcomes of treatment are known. This will allow predictions of which treatments work, or won’t work, for a particular patient. In order to do this, CMRI needs a high-performance computing platform.
“This will allow us to get that data into a format for clinicians to look at, without it the whole project would be very difficult.’’
CMRI has been working closely with Harbour IT, Canon, HP, Red Hat and Intel to design the unique system. Canon Managing Director, Yusuke Mizoguchi, visited the Institute’s Westmead head office earlier this month to get an update on the ProCan project.
Dr Tully said they were planning to start the next phase of ProCan work, and hope to put the super computer to work in January, 2018.
“We’ve been working on getting the Standard Operating Procedures established, and now we can consider the next phase,’’ Dr Tully said. “Next year we will be ramping up what we’re doing. Getting the funding for this computer infrastructure is really key.’’
CMRI has also received funding from the Ian Potter Foundation for this project and is hoping that, through its annual Christmas appeal with support from donors, the remaining funds can be raised.
|Photo: Canon management visiting Children’s Medical Research Institute in Westmead