Decoding the Human Body

ProteomicsDB is helping researchers around the world understand the human body better. The aim is to collect the proteomes of the different human cell and tissue types, body fluids, as well as disease cell lines. This information will help researchers to extend their understanding of complex diseases like cancer, dementia, and diabetes.

If you want to understand a cell’s structure you have to examine the proteins inside it. An infected cell can be differentiated from a healthy cell by the presence of proteins and their levels. Cancer is one of the diseases that arise when protein function goes awry. “By looking at these cancer cells we learn how they go wrong and by understanding which proteins are no longer functioning properly we hope to design treatments that would address those malfunctioning proteins and hopefully kill those cancer cells,” says Professor Bernhard Küster, Chair of Proteomics and Bioanalytics at TU Munich.

In decoding the human proteome, scientists teamed up with SAP. Latest mass-spectrometry analytics allow the scientists to identify proteins and estimate the quantity of proteins, but it also generates many terabytes of data. To analyze the data, SAP brought into this co-innovation project its in-memory database SAP HANA. “In the past, analyzing proteomics data took many hours or days, but now with SAP HANA we can do it in seconds,” says Dr. Christian Ehrlich from the SAP Innovation Center in Potsdam.

SAP additionally worked on the visualization of the Proteomics Database in order that scientists who use the platform can navigate and browse easily through the data. Innovative technology will drive the future of science and medicine and thereby also help for a more sustainable healthcare system for everyone.