Research Organization Collaborates with IBM to Identify Type 1 Diabetes Risks


JDRF and IBM partner to develop data-driven methods to predict the onset of type 1 diabetes.

JDRF, a global organization funding type 1 diabetes research (T1D), recently announced a partnership with IBM that will create and apply machine learning techniques to analyze data to determine risk factors that lead to T1D, according to a press release.

Approximately 1.25 million Americans have T1D. The novel partnership is expected to allow T1D to enter the precision medicine space by combining the data and expertise from JDRF with the technical and computing capabilities of IBM, according to the release.

“At JDRF, we are absolutely committed to seeing a world without type 1 diabetes, and with this partnership, we’re adding some of the most advanced computing power in the world to our mission,” said Derek Rapp, president and CEO at JDRF. “JDRF supports researchers all over the world, but never before have we been able to analyze their data comprehensively, in a way that can tell us why some children who are at risk get T1D and others do not. IBM’s analysis of the existing data could open the door to understanding the risk factors of T1D in a whole new way, and to one day finding a way to prevent T1D altogether.”

Under the partnership, IBM researchers will look at different data sets and apply machine learning algorithms to discover patterns and factors involved. The goal is to identify strategies to slow or prevent the onset of T1D.

To compare different data sets, the researchers plan to utilize previous data from global research projects, according to the release. Data analysis will include genetic, familial, autoantibody, and other factors to develop a set of features included in all data sets.

Through this, JDRF will be able to better identify risk factors for T1D, cluster patients based on risk factors, and use data-driven models to predict disease onset, according to the organization.

In the future, JDRF and IBM may further the analysis of big data to better predict and understand T1D, including the exploration of more complex data sets. The partnership may also help discover a cure for T1D, according to the release.

“Nearly 40,000 new cases of type 1 diabetes will be diagnosed in the US this year. And each new patient creates new records and new data points that, if leveraged, could provide additional understanding of the disease,” says Jianying Hu, senior manager and program director, Center for Computational Health at IBM Research. “The deep expertise our team has in artificial intelligence applied to healthcare data makes us uniquely positioned to help JDRF unlock the insights hidden in this massive data set and advance the field of precision medicine towards the prevention and management of diabetes.”

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