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Munich Leukemia Laboratory (MLL) is a state-of-the-art leukemia and lymphoma diagnostic and research laboratory based in Munich. It recently partnered with IBM and Illumina, Inc., the global leader in next-generation sequencing technology, to help build a new cognitive technology prototype that aims to help researchers improve leukemia treatment.
Leukemia’s prevalance has been on the rise in Europe, with 15,000 new diagnoses each year in Germany alone. MLL will use NovaSeq technology from Illumina to sequence samples from its biobank of more than 500,000 cases.
MLL researchers then plan to use Watson to help analyze the genomic data alongside other data sources. The project intends to include innovative testing processes such as automated phenotyping and genotyping including whole genome sequencing (WGS) and transcriptome sequencing (RNASeq) in 5,000 cases.
The ultimate goal is to develop a Watson-based technology prototype that can help analyze genomic and phenotypic data alongside medical literature, guidelines and study results, providing clinicians with information relevant to leukemia care. Following successful development, the tool could also be made available to other laboratories in the future.
Prof. Torsten Haferlach, co-founder and CEO of MLL, states, “We at MLL are excited to combine our data and knowledge, IBM’s cognitive computing tools, and Illumina’s new sequencing platform to create a new era of insights in leukemia biology that will also drive more personalized treatment strategies.”
MLL will utilize Illumina’s BaseSpace® Informatics Suite to be able to streamline data analysis, storage, data curation and aggregation. The BaseSpace Sequence Hub Frankfurt site will help MLL manage the data as the project scales and facilitates data transfer to IBM Watson.
Additional tertiary analysis with BaseSpace Cohort Analyzer and BaseSpace Correlation Engine allows MLL’s genomic data to be combined with other clinical data to enhance interpretation results.