Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Amazon and AHA combine data to aid heart disease research

Steve Rogerson
November 22, 2016
The American Heart Association and Amazon Web Services have launched a cloud-based precision medicine data marketplace to accelerate scientific discovery.
The AHA Precision Medicine platform allows researchers and clinicians to access and analyse vast and diverse data to facilitate collaboration and accelerate breakthroughs in prevention, treatment and cures for heart disease and stroke.
A prime goal is for researchers and clinicians to come together as one community to access and analyse data to accelerate developing cures for cardiovascular diseases, the number one cause of death worldwide.
The platform, announced at this month's AHA Scientific Sessions in New Orleans, will include an array of curated rich datasets, that are centrally stored, easily searched and accessible, and managed on the AWS cloud. This platform enables researchers and clinicians to aggregate and analyse a rich breadth and depth of data including longitudinal cohorts, proteomic, genomic and gene expression data using a precision medicine approach. The aim is to uncover critical cardiovascular disease insights that could translate into medical innovations that positively impact millions of lives.
Precision cardiovascular medicine takes into account an individual's biology, environment and lifestyle and is driven by advanced methods of aggregating, integrating and analysing patient data to develop prevention and treatment strategies for individuals. Derived from the fullest possible range of biological and environmental factors relevant to a patient's cardiovascular health, the platform will integrate data from clinical trials, long-running epidemiologic studies, clinical registries, and real-time health data acquired through wearable devices and technology.

"The platform will harness the power of big data to revolutionise the way cardiovascular research is performed and speed the promise of precision cardiovascular medicine," said AHA CEO Nancy Brown (above). "The AHA remains steadfast in its commitment to eliminate the tragic global burden cardiovascular disease places on individuals, families, healthcare systems and entire nations by mapping scientific discovery to the dramatic advances in biomedical research and technology innovation."
AWS provides the computational and analytic power needed to manage an information ecosystem of this magnitude. Cloud computing is already accelerating scientific progress throughout academia, industry and government, helping to forge new models of open science, collaboration and discovery. Through a cloud-based infrastructure, the platform will advance the community of researchers to find cures for patients.

"AHA and AWS bring unique strengths and complementary expertise to the precision medicine data marketplace with AWS offering the immense computational and analytical power necessary to manage the information ecosystem of this magnitude," said Teresa Carlson (above), vice president at AWS. "We are very excited to work with AHA to quickly bring resources and advancements to patients more rapidly and to make these scientific discoveries a reality."
Several initial healthcare and research organisations are contributing data to the platform including AstraZeneca, Cedars Sinai Heart Institute, Dallas Heart Study, Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI), Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute, International Stroke Genetics Consortium and Stanford Cardiovascular Institute.
"AstraZeneca is pleased to work with the AHA, AWS and other groups on this important initiative," said Fouzia Laghrissi Thode, vice president of AstraZeneca. “By contributing de-identified data from our clinical trials and bringing together under one umbrella the data and the tools, this initiative will help scientists and clinicians advance our understanding of cardiovascular disease in a cost and time effective manner, to ultimately bring benefits to patients.”
James de Lemos, MD of the Dallas Heart Study, added: "This platform will facilitate important collaborations that should help uncover new causal factors and targets for therapy."
To spark collaboration, AHA is providing access to the platform through a series of grants. AWS is providing grant recipients free access to computational cloud storage and analysis as part of the AHA data grant portfolio. Grant submissions are in progress and the first round of recipients will be announced in April 2017.
"By making large numbers of data sources more easily available to researchers, this collaboration will accelerate the movement towards greater openness in clinical research," said DCRI executive director Eric Peterson. "It will also help speed the development of scientific discoveries into usable treatments for the patients who need them most."
And Joseph Wu, director of the Stanford Cardiovascular Institute, said: "These findings could help stratify individuals, groups and entire populations according to their risk of cardiovascular disease and likely response to treatments."