McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty member David Vorp, PhD, associate dean for research at Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering and the John A. Swanson Professor of Bioengineering, and his team are using Amazon Web Services (AWS) resources to improve the diagnosis and treatment of abdominal aortic aneurysms, the 13th-leading cause of death in western countries. New machine learning technologies and advances in computing power, like those offered by Amazon SageMaker and Amazon EC2, are making it possible to rapidly translate insights discovered in the lab into treatments and services that could dramatically improve human health.

Currently, clinicians can use only the simple measurements of an aneurysm’s diameter and growth rate to predict the risk of a rupture. “With the latest advances in machine learning, we are developing an algorithm that will provide clinicians with an objective, predictive tool to guide surgical interventions before symptoms appear, improving patient outcomes,” said Dr. Vorp.

In the latest sign of Pittsburgh’s growing importance as a center of health care technology innovation, the Pittsburgh Health Data Alliance (PHDA)—a unique consortium formed four years ago by UPMC, the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University—announced recently that it is working closely with AWS, an Amazon.com company, through a machine learning research sponsorship, to advance innovation in areas such as cancer diagnostics, precision medicine, voice-enabled technologies and medical imaging.

The PHDA uses the “big data” generated in health care — including patient information in the electronic health record, diagnostic imaging, prescriptions, genomic profiles and insurance records — to transform the way that diseases are treated and prevented, and to better engage patients in their own care.

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UPMC/PittHealthSciences Media Relations News Release