The New York Times – "Cancer Centers Racing to Map Patients' Genes"
At Mount Sinai's medical school, a new $3 million supercomputer makes quick work of huge amounts of genetic and other biological information.
Major academic medical centers in New York and around the country are spending and recruiting heavily. The investments are based on the belief that the medical establishment is moving toward the routine sequencing of every patient's genome in the quest for "precision medicine."
The race entails large sums spent not only on construction and technology but also recruitment, for scientists like Eric E. Schadt, plucked from the biotech world to head the Mount Sinai Institute for Genomics and Multiscale Biology. Dr. Schadt says he will use the mathematical principles of weather and markets forecasting to assess the risk of disease, and, given a disease, determine the subtype and best drugs to use.
Mount Sinai has collected what it calls an electronic "biobank" of information on 24,000 patients. Some of that information will be fed into the supercomputer, which is named Minerva. Minerva's supervisor is Patricia Kovatch, 44, a computer engineer who led the team that built Kraken, the world's third fastest computer. So much hiring has been going on surrounding personalized medicine at Mount Sinai, she said, that "it feels like a start-up."
Learn more about Mount Sinai's new supercomputer.