On November 10, Dell moved clinical practice in oncology closer to the cloud. It committed cloud computing technology, funding, and employee engagement to support pediatric cancer research programs. It is expected to speed computational processes, manage and store the resulting data, and provide a forum for analytics and collaboration.
The company’s foray into biomedical research will focus on a personalized medicine clinical trial being conducted by the Neuroblastoma and Medulloblastoma Translational Research Consortium (NMTRC) and supported by The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen).
TGen will use its genomic technology within Dell’s donated cloud to help NMTRC identify a greater depth of personalized treatment strategies for children with stage IV neuroblastoma who are enrolled in the NMRTC trial. The study is being conducted in at least 10 children’s cancer centers in the U.S.
Centers will send tumor samples to TGen, and “T-Gen will run the gene sequencing on the individual patient tumor samples sent by the participating institutions,” James Coffin, Ph.D., vp and GM of Dell Healthcare and Life Sciences, explained to GEN.
The information will then be sent to the cloud for matching with drug(s) that have the highest success in treating the cancer and are impacting the most appropriate pathways. “In pediatric care in particular, you want to make sure you are using the most efficacious, least toxic drug,” said Dr. Coffin. “The way to do that is to match the tumor through a complete genomic tumor analysis from an individual patient, and then we know what pathways can be blocked by which drugs.”
Up until now, the trial was primarily supported by parents and foundations. Dr. Coffin said that the first trial will enroll 13 pediatric patients with stage IV neuroblastoma, but with DELL’s support, the program’s participation is expected to grow to hundreds of patients over the next three years.
This will generate more than 200 billion measurements per patient that must be analyzed, shared, and stored, DELL predicted. Data computation and analysis of this information would have required weeks to months to process and thus would have limited the depth and number of pediatric cancer patients who could be included in the clinical trial. But DELL expects that the time needed for such large-scale studies will be reduced to just days through the use of DELL’s cloud.