Microsoft to help tackle Alzheimer's

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Microsoft Research is supporting work into the causes of neurodegenerative illnesses such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's through its Computational Challenges of Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS) programme..

A second project will attempt to predict and prevent adverse drug responses with prescription medicines.

Microsoft has selected six projects to support out of a total of 40 proposals submitted from 39 academic institutions worldwide.

The goal is to aid researchers in the correlation of genetic patterns with patients' responses to drugs, diseases, aging and the expression of genetic disorders to enable lifesaving research through the use of technology.

"The Microsoft Research GWAS programme provides crucial funding at the interface between information management and quality healthcare," said Michael Kane, an assistant professor of computer technology at Purdue University, and one of the researchers selected to receive support under the GWAS initiative.

"Patient-specific genotyping to assure prescription drug safety and drug effectiveness is a major step towards the emergence and adoption of personalised medicine, and this support is key to facilitating that vision."

As part of the programme, more than $850,000 has been shared among six research institutions.

"When it comes to performing genetic analysis, researchers are often hampered by the data itself, whether inconsistencies in format, the inability to visualise it, or sheer volume," said Kristin Tolle, programme manager for biomedical computing in the External Research & Programs team at Microsoft Research.

"Of all the research areas in which Microsoft collaborates, none may have as much real impact on global economies and the lives of ordinary people as healthcare."

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