Technology could speed the process of precision medicine; Beaverton firm is at forefront.

THE TIMES: MANDY FEDER-SAWYER - Ganapati 'Gans' Srinivasa demonstrates the process of aggregating data that could potentially save lives of cancer patients. Ganapati "Gans" Srinivasa is not a doctor, but he just might hold the key to saving millions of lives.

Srinivasa is famous for being the chief architect of the Xeon processor, a 400 MHz Pentium microprocessor from Intel for use in mid-range enterprise servers and workstations. The device is found in most modern technological devices.

Srinivasa is chief executive officer of Omics Data Automation, a resident company at the Oregon Technology Business Center and one of five winners of the 2017 Beaverton Challenge winners. The company is designing and selling software in the precision medicine area to aggregate data for cancer treatment centers and hospitals.

"We can talk about gadgets, but so what? This is the Holy Grail," Srinivasa said of his current project to assist medical professionals working with cancer patients who are faced with a mountain of data from a wide and confusing array of sources.

And he's not alone in that opinion.

"A patient with a newly diagnosed cancer may undergo many different types of tests, but the results of these tests exist in separate data silos," said Dr. Chris Corless, director of the Knight Diagnostic Laboratories, Oregon Health & Science University. A data silo is a separate database or set of data files that are not part of an organization's enterprise-wide data administration. 

"Omics will aggregate and analyze the very large quantity of data contained across all of these silos, which will result in faster diagnostics and more effective treatments," Corless said.

According to Srinivasa, there are currently about 16 million cancer survivors in the United States and, of those, about 600,000 are expected to die from some form of cancer, making it the second deadliest disease next to heart disease.

Precision medicine is a lot more than stethoscopes and X-ray machines. "It's an eye-opener how dependent precision medicine is on computation,"? said Michael Wrimm, Ph.D, a principal with Omics.

The treatment of cancer isn't just a "race with time," it's also an expensive effort, Srinivasa said. His goal is to provide this service in a price range of $100 to $500 per patient to compute and store information for 10 years.

Omics recently was awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation for $224,903 to develop technology that will help patients receive faster and more accurate diagnosis and treatment. This capability has the potential to help patients with cancer and other serious medical conditions. Omics also recently received a $500,000 contract with the University of California, Los Angeles Hospital.

The vision of Omics Data Automation in the Oregon Technology Business Center Incubator, is for effective precision medicine treatment — each patient has be characterized, analyzed and targeted with a plan tailored to inhibit their cancer. Precision treatment is an informatics enterprise that aims to expedite and perfect the process so the most precise, tailored treatment plan can be generated in one day using all the information available.

Srinivasa said the specialized computation of treatment for cancer and what Omics is doing is a timesaver and a lifesaver. Omics has grown from about four principals at the beginning of the year to 11 contributors to the project now.

Wrimm said precision medicine seems exotic, but the company tries to make it accessible to all.

Omics develops infrastructure for aggregating multidimensional data to enable customers to build and scale up clinical practices while keeping the costs low, so lifesaving technology is available for everyone.

Omics is designing and selling software in the precision medicine area to aggregate data for cancer treatment centers and hospitals.

Wrimm and Srinivasa said they both left their "cushy Intel jobs" to make a difference in the world.

Omics looks for groups of population cohorts that have a similar set of variations.

Steve Morris, executive director of the Oregon Technology Business Center, said, "I think this project really has exciting potential — this whole idea of personalized medicine takes you (the patient) into account — right down to the genome. It's a great example of incubation. Gans (Srinivasa) is awesome in terms of technology and this has excellent potential to make a very big splash worldwide."

The broader impact/commercial potential of this small business innovation project is that patient medical information comes in many diverse forms including genomic sequences, medical images and clinical observations.

The integration of the various data sources across patient populations have shown to reveal patterns and similarities among patients, which inform treatment options. With advances in imaging and genomic sequencing technologies, the sheer volume of available information is growing exponentially, straining current computational approaches and creating an imminent need for scalable data integration, Srinivasa said.

The ability to overcome the data mountain opens the door to support precision medicine and provide enhanced services to medical institutions. With Omics innovations, patients can receive faster and more accurate diagnoses and treatments, clinicians can deliver verified treatment decisions through patient cohort comparison, hospitals have better standard of care and society overall will potentially be empowered by supporting global treatment options and well-informed pharmaceutical development, Srinivasa added.

The project develops a scalable aggregation, a technique for improving the interactive behavior of database systems, and analysis of factors and circumstances that cause a patient's symptoms to improve or worsen. The project blends all that information to help create personalized diagnosis and therapy for each patient.

But bringing all that information together in one place for the doctors to find is the trick.

The project aggregates features from genomics (the branch of molecular biology concerned with the structure, function, evolution and mapping of genomes), imaging and clinical characterization of patients. This enables identification of groups of patients based on both genotypes (the genetic constitution of an individual organism) and phenotypes (the set of observable characteristics of an individual resulting from the interaction of its genotype with the environment).

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