Cloudy with a chance of finding new cures for cancer: CanSAR database adapts weather forecasting computer programs

 

The world’s largest cancer database, which will use computer programs similar to those that forecast the weather to process millions of experimental results in seconds, has been launched by British scientists. The technological breakthrough has the potential to revolutionise the search for cancer cures.

CanSAR, developed by the Institute of Cancer Research and Cancer Research UK, will handle more data than would be generated by a million years of observations from the Hubble space telescope.

In total, 1.7 billion experimental results will be available, free of charge, to researchers all over the world. The database uses artificial intelligence to help scientists understand work in other fields and also find genes that affect cancer, an expensive and time-consuming process. Research that previously took months could now be done in minutes.

Dr Bissan Al-Lazikani, a member of the CanSAR team, said scientific advancements had created “gold mines” of raw data, but also a problem of information overload.

“The database is capable of extraordinarily complex virtual experiments drawing on information from patients, genetics, chemistry and other laboratory research. It can spot opportunities for future cancer treatments that no human eye could be expected to see.”

CanSAR contains more than eight million experimentally derived measurements, information on nearly a million biologically active chemical compounds, and data from more than 1,000 cancer cell lines. It also holds drug-target information from the human genome and laboratory animals. “We are living in an exciting era where new technologies are allowing us to build huge databases of patient data, gene variations that are related to disease and many more clinical observations,” Dr Al-Lazikani said.

“The problem is, the more of these gold mines of raw material that we have, the more important the following question becomes: how do we bridge the gap from this raw knowledge to drugs for patients?

“CanSAR links such raw gold mines of genetic data to a whole raft of independent chemistry, biology, patient data and disease information. It then uses sophisticated computer machinery and artificial intelligence to draw paths of knowledge between them, predict risks and opportunities and make suggestions that can be tested in the lab and take us closer to a drug.”

CanSAR in numbers

The CanSAR database contains data on 1 million biologically active chemical compounds and data from more than 1,000 cancer cell lines. It condenses more data than would be generated by operating the Hubble Space Telescope for a million years.

 

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer - 3-4 Month Fixed Contract - £30-£35k pro rata

    £30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a 3-4 month pro rata fi...

    Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive - OTE £26,000+

    £16000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Telesales Executive is requir...

    Recruitment Genius: Area Sales Manager

    £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join ...

    Recruitment Genius: Freight Forward Senior Operator

    £22000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This logistics firm are looking...

    Day In a Page

    Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

    Making of a killer

    What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
    UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

    Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

    Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
    Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
    Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

    No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

    Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
    Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

    Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

    The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
    Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

    Something wicked?

    Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
    10 best sun creams for body

    10 best sun creams for body

    Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

    Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
    Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

    There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

    The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
    How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

    How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

    Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
    Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

    One day to find €1.6bn

    Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
    New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

    'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

    Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
    Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

    Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

    The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
    Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

    Historians map out untold LGBT histories

    Public are being asked to help improve the map