• Wed. Nov 29th, 2023

    Critical Thought

    Critical thoughts on quantum technologies

    Exploring the Future of Quantum Computing in Healthcare

    ByThemba Hadebe

    Nov 20, 2023
    Exploring the Future of Quantum Computing in Healthcare

    The Wellcome Trust has partnered with the Cleveland Clinic and IBM through the Cleveland Clinic-IBM Discovery Accelerator to develop proof-of-concept demonstrations of quantum computing for biologic and health applications. This initiative is part of the Wellcome Leap Quantum for Bio Challenge, which aims to accelerate breakthroughs in global health using quantum computers.

    The goal of Q4Bio is to co-develop health applications that leverage quantum computing and demonstrate their benefits, with a focus on the manifestation of diseases and the use of quantum physics to prevent and treat cancer. Up to $40 million will be provided to fund two projects, and an additional $10 million in challenge prizes will be awarded for successful and scalable technologies and approaches.

    Earlier this year, the Cleveland Clinic and IBM installed the first quantum system dedicated to healthcare research on the main campus. Since then, the Cleveland Clinic-IBM Discovery Accelerator researchers have been actively working on various disease-focused research projects that utilize high-performance computing, artificial intelligence, and quantum computing.

    One of the key areas of focus for the accelerator is protein conformation prediction using quantum computing. By gaining new insights into how proteins function and interact with other molecules, scientists can better understand the manifestation of diseases and develop more effective therapies. The team aims to develop quantum algorithms and workflows that can predict protein structures more accurately and quickly, leading to the creation of universal, scalable methods.

    In addition to protein conformation prediction, the Cleveland Clinic-IBM Discovery Accelerator is collaborating with Algorithmiq on a project that explores the use of quantum computing in the development of photon-activated drugs for cancer. By leveraging Algorithmiq’s drug discovery platform, Aurora, and IBM’s quantum hardware, the team aims to uncover new possibilities in cancer prevention and treatment.

    Quantum computing has the potential to revolutionize healthcare by turbocharging data analytics and benefiting medical imaging, pathology, and more. Dr. Tom Mihaljevic, CEO of the Cleveland Clinic, believes that this technology holds tremendous promise in expediting progress toward new treatments and solutions for patients with diseases like cancer, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes.

    The deployment of IBM Quantum System One at the Cleveland Clinic marks a significant milestone in the organizations’ 10-year partnership. By combining the power of quantum computing, artificial intelligence, and other next-generation technologies, researchers hope to uncover new scientific advancements in biomedical research and ignite a new era of accelerated discovery.

    Q: What is quantum computing?
    A: Quantum computing is a field of study that utilizes the principles of quantum mechanics to perform complex computations. It has the potential to solve problems much faster than traditional computers by leveraging quantum bits or qubits.

    Q: How can quantum computing benefit healthcare?
    A: Quantum computing can enhance healthcare data analytics, leading to advancements in medical imaging, pathology, and drug discovery. It has the potential to tackle scientific bottlenecks and accelerate the development of new treatments for various diseases.

    Q: What is protein conformation prediction?
    A: Protein conformation prediction refers to the process of predicting the three-dimensional structure of a protein based on its amino acid sequence. It is an essential step in understanding protein function and designing targeted therapies.

    – [Cleveland Clinic](https://www.clevelandclinic.org)
    – [IBM](https://www.ibm.com)
    – [Wellcome Trust](https://wellcome.ac.uk/)