Zucker­berg and Chan do­nate $10 mil­lion to UCSF for big-data projects

Modern Healthcare - - REGIONAL NEWS - —Rachel Z. Arndt

Big data just got a mas­sive shot in the arm. Power cou­ple Mark Zucker­berg and Dr. Priscilla Chan do­nated $10 mil­lion to the Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia at San Fran­cisco’s In­sti­tute of Com­pu­ta­tional Health Sciences to fund big data projects.

The do­na­tion will be used to pay for new fac­ulty hires and in­for­mat­ics projects, in­clud­ing an ini­tia­tive to unite 15 mil­lion pa­tients’ health-records data from across five Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia med­i­cal cam­puses into a sin­gle data­base—a project that re­flects the trend in health­care to­ward an­a­lyz­ing mas­sive amounts of data for pop­u­la­tion health and imag­ing in­sights.

At the helm of the in­sti­tute is Dr. Atul Butte, who was just named the Priscilla Chan and Mark Zucker­berg dis­tin­guished pro­fes­sor at the univer­sity. His work in­volves what he’s termed “data re­cy­cling,” a big-data re­search tac­tic that in­volves min­ing pub­licly avail­able data for health and med­i­cal in­for­ma­tion rather than re­ly­ing on the more con­ven­tional ap­proach to clin­i­cal re­search of re­cruit­ing new pa­tients to study.

“The data are an in­cred­i­ble re­source for UC hos­pi­tals to im­prove the qual­ity of care we de­liver through­out Cal­i­for­nia,” Butte said in a state­ment.

Us­ing ex­ist­ing data, Butte and his lab col­leagues al­ready have found that a drug first ap­proved to kill par­a­sitic worms could be used to treat liver can­cer. They’ve also come up with a way to mine data to pre­dict out­comes of can­cer treat­ments.

Mark Zucker­berg and Dr. Priscilla Chan do­nated big to UCSF.

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