by Jamie Coffin, vice president and general manager, Dell Healthcare and Life Sciences
Late last week, Dell announced a major commitment of funding, employee engagement and cloud computing technology to support pediatric cancer research programs globally, including the world’s first personalized medicine trial for pediatric cancer conducted by the Neuroblastoma and Medulloblastoma Translational Research Consortium (NMTRC) and supported by The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen).
Dell is expanding its Powering the Possible program to focus on neuroblastoma and other pediatric cancers because of the devastating nature of the disease and to address the void of new and innovative treatments available for children. Dell believes that better information will lead to better care for patients and for cancer patients in particular.
Today, cancer treatment often relies on the “trial and error” approach to see what works best for a given disease. With advances in genomic-based therapies made possible by affordable, scalable high-performance computing, we now have the ability to target and personalize cancer treatment based on the genetic composition and vulnerabilities of each pediatric cancer patient’s tumor. This enhances the effectiveness of the treatment while reducing side effects for the patient. And with the right technology, we can make it happen even faster and extend the benefits to even more patients.
TGen’s new cloud-based IT infrastructure will help scientists and physicians investigate new technologies that accelerate genetic analysis and identification of targeted treatment for each pediatric cancer patient participating in the personalized medicine clinical trial. The cloud will reduce tumor mapping and analysis time from months to days. And it will provide a secure, cloud-based framework for the pediatric oncology community to store, move and analyze genomic data effectively and efficiently.
This is the future of medicine, and I’m proud that Dell is able to help expand access to personalized treatments for children fighting cancer, as well as support collaboration and development of best practices in treating these devastating diseases.
I want to thank Congressman Michael McCaul (R-Texas), founder and co-chair of the Congressional Childhood Cancer Caucus for supporting this endeavor. “I applaud Dell's commitment toward filling a great void in the development of specialized treatments for childhood cancers. Childhood cancer is the leading disease killer of American children. Because of the orphan nature of these diseases and the high cost of drug development for them, it’s been difficult for the pharmaceutical industry to develop treatments,” he said. “This is the kind of private endeavor that is needed to save and improve the lives of so many children.”
Recently, Congressman McCaul introduced legislation to incentivize the pharmaceutical industry to develop new treatments for pediatric cancer.
The future holds new promise for cancer patients, thanks to dedicated researchers and physicians, and ongoing public and private efforts to support their work. Eventually, cloud computing platforms like the one Dell is creating for TGen could become a model for managing complex knowledge exchanges between those interested in participating in personalized medicine.
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