IBM has announced a collaboration with a provider of genetic analysis and a pharmacy services firm to bring personalized medicine to the elderly based on analyzing and storing genetic data in a secure cloud environment.
Using SoftLayer, an IBM Company, the Camden, N.J.-based Coriell Life Sciences, in collaboration with IBM and CareKinesis, a Moorestown, N.J.-based medication risk mitigation pharmacy services firm, is launching an initiative with Program for All Inclusive Care of the Elderly (PACE) clients, an organization that cares for more than 5,000 seniors, helping to enhance medication safety by better understanding how high-risk individuals respond to specific medications and drug treatments.
Currently, about three out of four older Americans have multiple chronic health conditions. Many of these patients are being treated with drugs that may work at odds with each other—the medication being used for one condition can actually make another condition worse. And by 2030, one in five Americans will be over the age of 65.
Working with genetic data presents massive challenges for both data storage and privacy protection; a whole human genome produces more than three billion points of data for a single individual. To address these issues, Coriell Life Sciences turned to a cloud storage service based on SoftLayer.
In collaboration with IBM, Coriell Life Sciences built a scalable, cloud-based solution that stores data in Coriell Life Sciences’ GeneVault, which stores and manages millions of genetic data points. This data is then interpreted and shared with physicians through CareKinesis, who layers additional medication management decision factors into a holistic tool for doctors within PACE organizations.
Under the strict privacy controls of the interconnected CareKinesis and Coriell Life Sciences systems, physicians, healthcare providers and medical experts can access a patient’s genomic interpretation via any web connected device. For example, a cardiologist may consider prescribing a popular blood-thinning drug for an elderly man, but may be concerned about the potential for an adverse reaction. The PACE Team decides to conduct a test to assess if the participant will respond to the medication being considered. The test is run by swabbing the inside of the patient’s cheek to collect a tiny amount of genetic material, which goes to Coriell Life Sciences for testing. Results are analyzed and interpreted for their impact on drug response. The resulting report is then transmitted to the doctor giving guidance on whether the patient can safely use the drug. CareKinesis supports the process by making pharmacotherapy recommendations based on these results. The data can be used at any time it is needed in the future for pharmacotherapy prescribing decisions, officials say.
“The goal of personalized medicine is to individualize healthcare by using knowledge of patients’ health history, behaviors, environments, and, most recently, individual genetic makeup when making clinical decisions,” CareKinesis CEO Calvin H. Knowlton, Ph.D., said in a statement. “This initiative will allow physicians to collaborate with CareKinesis pharmacists to access a patient’s genetic data to better understand what drug treatments are likely to be responded to, thus reducing medication-related problems and hospital visits, while decreasing the individual’s overall healthcare costs.”