ROCHESTER, Minn., March 26 (UPI) -- The Mayo Clinic is joining forces with IBM Corp. to develop a multi-million-dollar DNA database of patients for genetic research and health care.
The high-tech information system would contain archival data on tissue from blood, tumors and other body parts that would be immediately available to doctors and researchers to compare diagnoses and treatments with DNA profiles and other information.
"If you go (to Mayo) with an illness, (doctors) should be able to reach into this database and find other individuals just like you," IBM Life Sciences director of strategy Jeff Augen told Tuesday's Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Mayo would not put a price on the project but last month said it needed $80 million for information systems, equipment, staff and training for genomics. The UNIX-based IBM pSeries server also will allow investigators to identify potential participants for clinical trials.
"The new system could enable the clinic's medical staff to quickly draw meaning from data to support medical treatments, including genomic information from public and private databases and retrospective studies of millions of archived records from patients," IBM said in a statement.
Mayo's extensive archive of more than 6 million patients will be loaded into the database by July and genetic information will be added in subsequent phases of the project.
Officials said the world-renown clinic would protect patient confidentiality by removing all information that would permit identification of individuals in the database.