Intel shared more details of its cancer aid research program, a joint venture with the Knight Cancer Institute at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), to develop a cloud computing platform customized for cancer research on Wednesday.

Intel Corporation Progressing With Its Cancer Cloud

Intel assures security

In 2013, the chip maker described its aim to develop a cloud computer system to allow hospitals and researchers to share and access patient genomic, imaging and clinical data on a shared data center for cancer research. Previously, Intel said that it assisted OHSU in developing a research data center powered by itss supercomputing technology to allow researchers to access and use the data to study the genomic profile of tumors.

Now Intel said the platform has matured to a level that by next year, two new organizations are expected to join the platform, which will be known as the Collaborative Cancer Cloud. The chip maker said its built-in data analytics software system, Discovery Peak, will assist in processing health-related information in the cancer cloud.

The chip maker believes the cancer project is quite different from other research programs as it is focused on sharing data with each other in a secure manner. Cancer research groups “are hesitant to share data for security concerns,” Dr. Brian Druker said during the Intel conference.

Addressing the concern, the senior vice president and general manager for Intel’s data center group, Diane M. Bryant, said, “Intel’s Collaborative Cancer Cloud is fully-secure, and organizations can access it without any fear.”

A lucrative source of revenue

Realizing that a mix of healthcare and data is a potential source of revenue in the near future, many tech firms are focusing on it. Government-sponsored research indicates that by 2019, Americans will spend approximately $4.5 trillion dollars on healthcare. Intel stands to gain big from this by providing chips to support large-scale data centers similar to what it has been developing with the OHSU.

Apart from Intel, other tech firms are also foraying into cancer research. IBM has partnered with Cleveland Clinic to help its cancer research program with its Watson artificial intelligence system. Flatiron Health, Guardant Health and Syapse are some more healthcare startups working with big data technologies to help researchers in cancer study.

Moving forward, Intel and OHSU plan to expand the program to cover other medical research like Alzheimer’s and heart disease, said Druker.