SKT will add AI to gene analysis

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SKT will add AI to gene analysis

SK Telecom and biotech company Macrogen will team up to offer customized medical treatment using artificial intelligence-based genomic analysis, the mobile carrier said Monday.

Genomic analysis identifies genomic features of each person, such as DNA sequences and gene expression. The identified data can be used to find out the risk of severe diseases like cancer and also the right treatment, according to SK Telecom.

“Right now, doctors prescribe the anticancer drugs that are proven to be the most effective in statistics,” SK said in statement. “But with [genomic analysis], we can find the most suitable anticancer drug for a certain patient.”

This kind of personal treatment, however, was difficult to offer to the general public because of the large amount of time and costs required. Human DNA is comprised of approximately three billion base pairs, and as much as 900 gigabytes of data is obtained from the analysis.

SK Telecom plans to develop a system that can analyze, store and manage data obtained from genomic analysis faster and more effectively using its AI and machine learning technology. The mobile carrier said the technologies can help cut the time used for analysis by one-tenth.

The carrier also plans to offer its data compression and storage technology so that hospitals and research labs won’t have to build additional data storage, which could cut operational costs and enable wider use of genomic analysis.

“We expect that Macrogen’s genomic analysis data will be more widely used by the public thanks to SK Telecom’s information communications technology,” said Yang Kap-seok, CEO of Macrogen.

Macrogen is a precision medical and biotech company established in 1997 by researchers from the Genome Medical Research Institute of Seoul National University. It was the first Korean bio venture listed on the tech-heavy Kosdaq market in 2000.


BY KIM JEE-HEE [kim.jeehee@joongang.co.kr]

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