Sep 22, 2016 01:05 AM EDT

Computing Cancer, Microsoft Uses Computer Science to Find Cure

By Kay Soliven
Tech giant Microsoft is using computer science  find cure for cancer
Tech giant Microsoft is using computer science find cure for cancer
(Photo : Getty Images/ David Ramos)

The Microsoft research labs, dedicated to creating solutions to problems of the computer industry, will use algorithms and computers to find a cure for cancer - the deadly challenge for humans today.

According to Mircosoft, the company is conducting research in Microsoft Labs, Cambridge, UK to try and merge biology with computer science, in hopes of finding a solution for the disease. According to corporate Vice-President in charge of the labs Jeannete Wing, "The collaboration between biologists and computer scientists is actually key to making this work."

However, the tech giant found two approaches to the problem: first is taking biological processes as information processing systems where tools are developed and used to model computational processes, and second approach is using data to formulate analysis tools that may comprehend the complexity of cancer and its treatments. With this, 150 scientists and software developers are working together for the said research initiative, Daily Mail reported.

It is said that the research teams are focused on treating cancer using "precision medicine" or understanding the role of genetics in personalized treatments. Through creating technology, they aim to come up with a close to an exact program that will mimic and understand biological processes.

According to the senior director of genomics group at Microsoft, David Heckerman, they are making an effort in organizing information and turning them into knowledge, citing that this is the best way that computer science can help the biological sciences. He added, "There's a huge leap here between information and data, and knowledge and understanding."

Senior researcher in Microsoft Lab in Cambridge Jasmin Fisher, on the other hand, leads a team which uses a computational approach in understanding cancer from the basic principle of how a cell becomes cancerous and how to fix it. Fisher's team is using the Bio Model Analyzer (BMA), which creates a computerized version of the biological processes inside the body. It is a powerful computational model which also shows the best possible treatments or approach to the different stages of cancer. The team made sure that the system is made in such a way that it is "biologist-friendly."

Meanwhile, another research from the Microsoft Labs uses an approach to program biology the way computers are programmed. According to Head of the Bio Computation Group, Andrew Phillips, there is a lot of promise on the possible impact of the technology they are making. He added, "All aspects of our daily lives will be affected."

On other news, another brainchild of Microsoft Labs, called Project Hanover, uses machine learning to collate all research related to cancer and store it in a cloud, which will be accessible to cancer experts. It sorts through all information available and makes sense of relevant data to help experts come up with the best treatment plans. The project already developed a tool called "Literome," which uses cloud computing-based system and goes through millions of genomic researchers to find the most applicable to an individual diagnosis of a patient.

Microsoft is indeed revolutionizing the way to understand cancer treatment through computer science. On its early stages, the research initiatives are promising solutions to better understand cancer and its treatment methods. Microsoft is expected to come up with tangible technology to solve this life-threatening disease within ten years.

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