Supercomputers reduce cancer treatment analysis to seconds
By Phil Colpas, Editor, November 2012
At a live-streamed event last month – hosted by the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) and Doctors Helping Doctors and held at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. – NantHealth and partner organizations unveiled their plan to transform cancer diagnosis and treatment by utilizing a state-of-the-art genomic supercomputing platform.
Currently in the United States, the wrong diagnosis leads to the wrong treatment protocol in 32 percent of cancer patients. That – combined with the huge lag time for treatment review, an average of five months after treatment begins – means many patients are not receiving the care they should.
“This is unacceptable,” says Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, M.D., leader of the research team and chairman of Chan Soon-Shiong Institute for Advanced Health, National LambdaRail and NantHealth. “About a third of U.S. cancer patients are getting improper care. How can we give patients the best possible outcomes at the lowest cost if we don’t have the proper treatment from the start?”
The answer, Dr. Soon-Shiong says, lies in technology.
Collaborating with Blue Shield of California, the Chan Soon-Shiong Institute for Advanced Health, National LambdaRail, Doctors Helping Doctors, Verizon, Bank of America, AT&T, Intel and Hewlett-Packard, NantHealth has built a supercomputer-based high-speed fiber network that will allow thousands of oncology practices to share life-saving information in a fraction of the time.
“Doctors will finally be able to provide higher-quality treatment in a dramatically more efficient, effective and affordable manner,” says Dr. Soon-Shiong.
NantHealth’s revolutionary improvements reduce the time for genomic analysis from an average of eight weeks to an unprecedented 47 seconds per patient. For the first time, doctors will be able to compare treatment options based on genetics, risk and cost before treatment begins, not several months into the process. And for a cancer patient, this could very well mean the difference between life and death.
“This is not an ephemeral hope for the future,” says cardiac surgeon and former Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), who delivered the opening remarks. “It is here and now.”
NantHealth fast facts
- NantHealth’s motto is: “The best interest of the patient is the only interest to be considered.” Its supposition? That the business of medicine has devolved into the business of business. Its goal? To simplify our healthcare system, which has become unwieldy, complicated, specialized and fragmented.
- NantHealth is one of the companies under the umbrella of NantWorks. “Nant” is short for “Nantan,” an Apache word meaning, “He who speaks for the people.”
- NantWorks motto: “Building the world the way da Vinci saw it.”