TGen Secures Genome Data for Richer Healthcare AI Models with Fortanix Confidential Computing

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The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) founded in 2002, is a non-profit genomics research institute based in Arizona, United States. TGen seeks to employ genetic discoveries to improve disease outcomes by developing smarter diagnostics and targeted therapeutics.


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challenges for tgen


The Problem of Securing Data Privacy within AI

  • TGen has several researchers working on different aspects of Cancer, Alzheimer’s, and other healthcare related research projects and they also have several clinicians involved in clinical trials. The primary challenge TGen faced while developing quality AI models in the past was the inadequacy of quality data. Having access to quality datasets is important for the progression of research. Even though they were accessing genome patterns from different sources, the lack of sufficient high-quality data was hampering their research initiatives. The requirement was both in terms of the adaptive breadth of the data as well as just how well it was curated.
  • And the primary impediment to accessing more datasets was the proliferation of data privacy regulations within healthcare. For example: In the USA, under the provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act 1996 (HIPAA), the HIPAA Security Rule defines the privacy requirements for all individually identifiable health information (e-PHI) that is created, received, maintained, or transmitted by a healthcare entity and stipulates protection against “anticipated impermissible uses or disclosures”.


  • Sequential AI model chain and source genomic data is processed within the EU with auditable compliance of geo-fencing.
  • End-to-end data encryption with critical application security and data provenance using Intel® SGX secure enclaves.
  • Intel® Xeon® E-3 (Ice Lake-SP) hardware with Intel® SGX and up to 1TB EPC deployed to provide acceleration of AI workloads.
Glen OteroVice President of Scientific Computing at Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen)
“We were also working with specific groups of people like the native American tribes who were specifically looking to ensure privacy of their data even before they provided the genome sequence. They were very well aware of the security risks of having that data out in the public.”

Why did they choose Fortanix?



TGen was able to adopt policies based on the location of data
Support for multiple data processors

Support for multiple data processors

Seamless support for multiple data processors in various clouds and locations made it easier for TGen to have a compliant operation
Global logging

Global logging

All accesses to data was automatically logged in a centrally viewable tamper-proof global audit trail, allowing TGen to furnish the proof of secure execution
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