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American Heart Association Launches Cardiac Precision Medicine Data Platform

March 17, 2017
by Heather Landi
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The AHA Precision Medicine Platform

The American Heart Association developed a data discovery platform, the Precision Medicine Platform, which will allow researchers and physicians to access and analyze volumes of cardiovascular and stroke data.

AHA developed the cloud-based cardiac precision medicine platform in collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS), with the goal of sharing data to better treat and prevent heart failure, stroke, coronary artery disease, atrial fibrillation and other cardiovascular diseases and accelerate the care of patients.

The AHA Institute for Precision Cardiovascular Medicine is urging researchers and providers to share their datasets to the repository. Data from clinical trials, long-running epidemiologic studies, registries and real-time health data acquired through wearable devices and technology is sought.

“We have blown away the barriers and welcome all to join this game-changing platform that promotes us working together as one community to ultimately benefit patients worldwide,” Jennifer Hall, Ph.D., the AHA’s Chief of the Institute for Precision Cardiovascular Medicine, said in a statement. “The platform provides an opportunity to learn, search and discover in new and efficient ways, and we will keep working with the community to weave in new diverse data to help us drill deeper and enrich our understanding.”

A number of organizations already have shared their data to the platform, including AstraZeneca, Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute, Dallas Heart Study, Duke Cardiovascular Research Institute, Intermountain Health, the International Stroke Genetics Consortium, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and Stanford University.

"The increasing breadth and depth of medical data presents a tremendous opportunity to generate more nuanced and precise pre-diagnoses. However, leveraging this data requires tools capable of integrating data of diverse origin. The AHA Precision Medicine Platform can empower researchers with both the framework and tools to ease the burdens of data harmonization, amplifying the insight available from their own data,” Gabriel Musso, Ph.D., VP Life Sciences, BioSymetrics Inc., who has been actively using the platform during the initial phase, according to the press release.

Laura M. Stevens, a predoctoral National Library of Medicine Fellow in the computational biosciences program at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical School, and an early adopter, said the precision medicine platform offers the potential to do research across data sets to find consistent research results, and replicate and confirm research. “The platform makes big data analyses much quicker and easier. It’s a great foundation for implementing precision medicine and research in a clinical setting. I can’t wait to see where this will take us as a research community,” Stevens said in a statement.

Researchers are not charged for accessing the data but will pay a fee for cloud computing capabilities based on the current AWS model. Any revenue from cloud-based computing will be used to fund AHA’s research initiatives, the AHA said in a press release.

“By working together on datasets we have the ability to test the speed, agility and transparency of research,” Hall said. “With your data and your efforts, the AHA Precision Medicine Platform can help enable your discoveries of novel underlying causal factors of heart failure, new diagnostic biomarkers to predict stroke, or exponential new approaches to precision care for those with cardiovascular diseases and stroke.”

To further foster research aimed at reversing and preventing cardiovascular diseases and stroke, the AHA Institute for Precision Cardiovascular Medicine also offers a variety of grant opportunities for scientists and researchers from many different fields of study. The application process for several grants is currently open.

 

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