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Microsoft Introduces Groundbreaking Technology for Life Sciences

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center among early adopters of Microsoft Amalga Life Sciences.

BOSTON, April 28 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- At the Bio-IT World Conference & Expo, Microsoft Corp. introduced Amalga Life Sciences, a new software system designed to transform healthcare and life science research data into the critical knowledge needed for the discovery of new personalized treatments. Microsoft Amalga Life Sciences helps organizations across the life sciences spectrum achieve the next level of research capability by connecting data and investigators in new ways through novel storage capabilities, ontology management functions and a semantic query environment powered by a next-generation reasoning engine.


"Our researchers face an overwhelming challenge to collect, analyze, interpret and share complex data from a wide range of diseases and experiments," said Lee Hartwell, Ph.D., president and director, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and 2001 Nobel Laureate. "We look forward to exploring the potential of Amalga Life Sciences to help us understand this data in a rich and efficient way and ultimately help us meet our vision of enabling personalized medicine."

Amalga Life Sciences is designed to manage and analyze heterogeneous experimental and operational research data. The Amalga Life Sciences "hybrid store" manages both simple and complex data, including experimental protocol descriptions and higher-level knowledge representations, giving organizations the opportunity to manage and redesign processes to increase productivity, improve decision-making and reduce errors. In addition, Amalga Life Sciences interfaces with existing and future systems as an open and active software system. This unique system allows life science organizations to provide their investigators with a research environment that assists the scientific investigation and validation of clinical and biological systems.

"The current nature of multidisciplinary research and operating models has led to a research IT landscape that lacks seamless integration and extensibility of data, expresses clinical knowledge inconsistently, and operates on incomplete biological knowledge described by different research contexts," said Jim Karkanias, senior director of applied research and technology, Microsoft Health Solutions Group. "At its core, Amalga Life Sciences is designed to overcome these issues and enable research organizations to implement new models of research and development for personalized medicine."

The evolution of current research IT systems has generated a data-rich but knowledge-poor environment. Amalga Life Sciences transforms the disconnected data into a network of information so that its novel reasoning engine may assist investigators to identify direct and indirect relationships between biological and clinical concepts and therefore convey knowledge.

Amalga Life Sciences features a "Concept Browser" for the Unified Medical Language System (UMLS) ontology, which enables the user to input and connect multiple concepts via their ontological relationships. The user may choose to connect via all possible connections, to select the depth of connections or to display only the shortest path. The output is displayed to the user as a visual network of concepts and relationships. Once the data is accessible and manageable, subject matter experts can then apply models and theories to data, identify the best solutions to complex problems, and predict new relationships.

Part of the Microsoft Amalga family of enterprise systems, Amalga Life Sciences incorporates the innovative core technology components of Amalga Unified Intelligence System 2009, announced April 6. These core technology components include the ability to integrate data from many disparate systems throughout the organization. Amalga Life Sciences is on display April 27-29 at Bio-IT World in Boston.

About Microsoft in Health

Microsoft is committed to improving health around the world through software innovation. Over the past 12 years, Microsoft has steadily increased its investments in health, with a focus on addressing the challenges of health providers, health and social services organizations, payers, consumers, and life sciences companies worldwide. Microsoft closely collaborates with a broad ecosystem of partners and develops its own powerful health solutions, such as Amalga and HealthVault. Together, Microsoft and its industry partners are working to advance a vision of unifying health information and making it more readily available, ensuring the best quality of life and affordable care for everyone.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

SOURCE Microsoft Corp.
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