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Technology & Innovation

Can Computer Scientists Stop Cancer?

The most powerful tools for stopping cancer may be those of the computer scientist rather than the physician. Genome sequencing algorithms may provide for personalized cancer treatment. 

What’s the Latest Development?

David Patterson, a computer science professor at the U of California, Berkeley, says modern computing technology can lead a new wave of cancer research by continuing to lower the cost of genome sequencing and, importantly, lowering the cost of processing that information into usable data. He also believes a cancer genome repository is needed, one that would be made available to scientists and health professionals. Lastly, where computer algorithms fail, Patterson believes solutions should be crowd sourced.

What’s the Big Idea?

As modern medicine has succeeded to a high degree against infectious disease, genetic diseases are becoming today’s health menace. Researchers learned relatively recently that caner is a genetic disease, caused primarily by mutations in our DNA. “The hope is that by sequencing the genome of a cancer tumor, doctors will soon be able to prescribe a personalized, targeted therapy to stop a cancer’s growth or to cure it.” The field of computer science is no longer isolated. It can help advance our most ambitious scientific goals.

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