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Alzheimer's and Cancer Link Found

By Texas Advanced Computing Center

April 24, 2014

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Researchers at the Houston Methodist Research Institute (HMRI) used the Lonestar and Stampede supercomputers at the Texas Advanced Computer Center (TACC) at the University of Texas at Austin to analyze and compare data from thousands of genes and narrow the search for common cell-signaling pathways of Alzheimer's disease and glioblastoma multiform, the most aggressive form of brain cancer. The researchers found the two diseases share a pathway in gene transcription.

"This is the first time people have found that at the molecular mechanism level there are linkages between the two diseases," says HMRI's Stephen Wong.

Finding which genes were active in the two diseases enables the researchers to map the active genes to known pathways through a process called pathway analysis.

The HMRI researchers analyzed large amounts of microarray data on Alzheimer's disease and brain tumors for the study. "TACC helped us in accomplishing data analysis," Wong says. "We're using TACC's Lonestar and Stampede supercomputing clusters to do all this number crunching."

The analysis included gene annotation, pathway expansion, and enrichment analysis. The Lonestar and Stampede supercomputers are part of the Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE), a single virtual system scientists can use to share computing resources, data, and expertise.

From Texas Advanced Computing Center
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