By AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION NEWS

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The American Heart Association on Thursday announced a nearly $5 million initiative in partnership with Amazon’s cloud computing division, Amazon Web Services, to fund more than a dozen data research grants to power the AHA’s Institute for Precision Cardiovascular Medicine.

Fourteen grants will be awarded over the next year to foster cross-disciplinary learning, enabling the scientific, mathematics and technology communities to come together in support of precision cardiovascular medicine.

Designed to fuel new innovation and discovery, the grant categories include:

  • Data mining, which uncovers patterns in data;
  • Methods validation, which validates pre-existing methods (algorithms and analytic tools) to maximize data to predict outcomes;
  • Innovative development, which focuses on discovery of new tools to analyze data; and
  • Fellowship awards, which will provide cross-training of scientists who are interested in computational biology.

The AHA’s Institute for Precision Cardiovascular Medicine is using enormous amounts of patient data — everything from a person’s genes to their environment and lifestyle — to find personalized approaches to prevent and treat heart disease and stroke.

“The promise of precision cardiovascular medicine and care can be realized when research and technology come together to deliver new insights,” AHA CEO Nancy Brown said in a news release. “The AHA and AWS collaboration will unite the global research community to accelerate discovery in cardiovascular health and usher in a new era of tailored prevention and treatment that will help patients and lessen the global burden of cardiovascular disease.”

According to the AHA, precision cardiovascular medicine has the potential to improve and prolong health, and ultimately reduce overall healthcare costs. It represents an improvement over the current approach of managing, rather than preventing, symptoms and serious health problems such as heart attacks and strokes, the organization said.

The grants include more than $2 million in cash awards and $2.6 million in technology credits from AWS for grantees to utilize the company’s data storage and analysis services.

“AWS is uniquely positioned to provide scalable, cost-efficient solutions for the scientific community, while delivering the industry-shaping technology and high-performance computing necessary to facilitate the most demanding research projects,” said Teresa Carlson, vice president of AWS’s worldwide public sector, in a news release.

The AHA launched its work in precision medicine in 2014, allocating $30 million over five years, with plans to raise at least another $100 million for the institute.

So far, the institute has funded nearly $10 million in research since the first institute grants were awarded two years ago.