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October 01, 2015
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The Path to Wellness through Big Data

The Personalized Medicine Initiative (PMI), based out of the Life Sciences Institute of the University of BC, has deployed HDP and PHEMI Central Big Data Warehouse to collect, store and manage genomic and clinical data for Molecular You (MY). 

PHEMI is a Hortonworks Technology partner and in this blog, Richard Proctor, General Manager, Global Healthcare at Hortonworks interviews PHEMI’s Roy Wilds, Dir. of Product Management, along with PMI’s Chief Operating Officer and Co-founder of Molecular You, Rob Fraser, to discuss this groundbreaking work.  

Join the webinar on Thursday October 8 at 10 am Pacific time to learn more: Register.

Richard Proctor, Hortonworks: Tell us more about Molecular You.

Rob Fraser, PMI (Molecular You): Molecular You is an exciting project that will provide 20,000 participants a molecular level understanding of themselves over the next 20 years. It will provide scientists, clinicians and participants with new information necessary to detect disease risk and initiate early intervention to avoid disease manifestation before it becomes dangerous and costly. This project is being executed and run by the Molecular You Corporation in partnership with the Personalized Medicine Initiative (PMI), based in the Life Sciences Institute of the University of BC.

We are creating a health guidance system based on the participant’s molecular makeup, clinical evidence and body of scientific knowledge. This “user’s manual“ will contain molecular level information (like genetic information, blood proteins and metabolites, gut microbes) combined with vital sign information collected from wearable technology (such as heart rate, blood pressure, activity level monitors) and environmental conditions. This data will be securely stored in a PHEMI Central data warehouse, then integrated and analyzed using computational biology approaches cross-referenced with the latest scientific and clinical findings to objectively characterize health status and to identify potential transitions from health to disease using various molecular metrics.

Richard Proctor, Hortonworks: So, how is PHEMI Central and HDP being used for this project?

Roy Wilds, PHEMI: The power behind this exciting project is PHEMI Central’s data management solution, tightly integrated with Hortonworks Data Platform (HDP™). These solutions bring the scale, performance and rigorous privacy, security and data governance required for precision medicine applications like this. For Molecular You, it means volumes and varieties of data will be collected and managed – from gene sequences to clinical care notes to personal activity tracking.

Rob Fraser, PMI (Molecular You): This is an exciting time for medicine. With new technologies that quickly and affordably sequence a person’s genome, and big data technologies that enable us to make the most of our data, we are in the position to significantly improve individual patient outcomes, save millions in healthcare costs, and open the doors for new discovery, prevention and treatment methods.

We have a mission to introduce technologies for personalized medicine into the frontlines of healthcare, and we realized that big data could give us the ability to rapidly adapt to the pace of innovation needed in this space. Molecular You Corporation, as a spinoff of the PMI, will sequence and analyze each participant’s genome for disease risk factors. In addition, it will collect proteome, metabolome, microbiome (and other Omic data), physical activity and other health indicators on a regular basis.

Richard Proctor, Hortonworks: Tell us about how PHEMI Central & HDP work together.

Roy Wilds, PHEMI: PHEMI Central leverages HDP, which provides an open platform that supports existing IT investments and unlocks the broadest opportunities from Hadoop, by indexing and cataloging features to deliver a system that scales economically, allowing Molecular You to more effectively collect and analyze data over time.   PHEMI Central and HDP streamline big data collection, management, analysis, and application development. PHEMI Central combines full-life cycle data management and fine-grained access control with HDP, a combination ideal for, production-ready big data in healthcare and other data-driven markets.

Richard Proctor, Hortonworks: We know privacy and security is a massive issue in precision medicine. Can you comment more on this?

Rob Fraser, PMI (Molecular You): As you can imagine, genomic information is about as personal as it gets. Privacy for the individuals in the program is critical for Molecular You, and PHEMI and Hortonworks are able to provide a secure big data solution that lets us easily collect and share data with the various research organizations contributing to this project and, at the same time, protect the privacy of our program participants. This opens the door to the broader healthcare ecosystem – including partner organizations conducting research on cancer, pharmacogenomics, and brain health studies – so that they can utilize our collected data to conduct research and find solutions that improve diagnosis, treatments and overall general wellness.

Roy Wilds, PHEMI: PHEMI Central applies a Zero Trust Data approach, giving Molecular You control over who can access what data for what purpose. Consent, data sharing agreements and privacy policies can all be enforced automatically within the system. Sensitive data can be dynamically de-identified before sharing. PHEMI Central allows Molecular You to automatically provide differing views to their various users and applications – from researchers only allowed access to de-identified data, to experts consulting on specific tests, to clinicians who need to view personal health information to provide participant consultations – all while protecting privacy and enforcing data sharing agreements.

Richard Proctor, Hortonworks: I’d like to close by adding that we believe PHEMI fills an important gap in the marketplace by bringing privacy to regulated industries like healthcare and life sciences, where protecting private and sensitive data is paramount. We’re proud to be part of the Molecular You project and we look forward to helping PMI and other life science leaders leverage Hortonworks Data Platform and PHEMI Central to realize the tremendous potential of precision medicine.

Learn more

Join PMI, PHEMI and Hortonworks in a webinar on Thursday October 8 at 10 am Pacific time. Register.

PHEMI’s vision and strategy for big data whitepaper Zero Trust Data: Solving the Data Dilemma. Zero Trust Data applied in the personalized medicine arena: PMI video.

Hortonworks and PHEMI Partnership page




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