Italian cancer researchers are harnessing the computing power of Intesa Sanpaolo, Unicredit and payments processor SIA to help process and analyse huge quantities of genetic data.
The new 'Cloud4Care' project means that employees at the Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research can - using SIA's infrastructure - access from their own workstations the Intesa Sanpaolo and Unicredit data centres.
The researchers will harness the power - around 4000 CPUs and one Terabyte of RAM memory - to carry out calculation algorithms using an ordinary Internet browser and a VPN.
The aim is to develop high-performance research algorithms for the study of the human genome while at the same time increasing not only the speed when processing huge quantities of data, but also the accuracy and precision of the analyses.
Initial testing has seen impressive results, says SIA, with processing times for a four gig file slashed from two hours to 10 minutes and the precision of calculations improving one hundred fold.
The first application of the new system, already underway, concerns the study of the molecular signatures associated with sensitivity and resistance to various ovarian cancer therapies, which will form the basis for increasing the efficacy of treatments by taking into account the biological characteristics of each type of tumour.
Professor Silvio Garattini, director, Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research, says: "In the absence of a government policy to support the research, this project permits us to make use of significant private resources to carry out research in the public interest."
Massimo Arrighetti, CEO, SIA, adds: "A winning collaboration applied to Corporate Social Responsibility which, thanks to the technology available, can tangibly support the daily analysis and processing of billions of data carried out by bioinformaticians."