Objectives: The INHERITANCE project, funded by the European Commission, is aimed at studying genetic or inherited Dilated cardiomyopathies (DCM) and at understanding the impact and management of the condition within families that suffer from heart conditions that are caused by DCMs. The biomedical informatics research area of the project has the goal of implementing information technology solutions to support the project team in the different phases of their research, in particular for gene screening prioritization and new gene-disease association discovery. Methods: In order to manage the huge quantity of scientific, clinical and patient data generated by the project several advanced biomedical informatics tools have been developed. The paper describes a layer of software instruments to support translation of the results of the project into guidelines and clinical practice as well as to support the scientific discovery process. This layer includes data warehousing, intelligent querying of the phenotype data, integrated search on biological data and knowledge repositories, text mining of the relevant literature, and case based reasoning. Results: At the moment, a set of 1,394 patients and 9,784 observations has been stored into the INHERITANCE data warehouse. The literature database contains more than 1,100,000 articles retrieved from the Pubmed and generically related to cardiac diseases, already analyzed for extracting medical concepts and genes. Conclusions: After two years of project the data warehouse has been completely set up and the text mining tools for automatic literature analysis have been implemented and tested. A first prototype of the decision support tool for knowledge discovery and gene prioritization is available, but a more complete release is currently still under development.
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