Each year millions of people all over the world, including more than 1 million patients in the United States, learn that they have a cancer diagnosis. Instead of going through painful chemotherapy that can kill healthy cells along with cancerous cells, what would happen if those patients were able to be treated as individuals based on their specific genome sequencing, and a precision treatment plan could be tailored specifically for their disease? And what if it could happen within 24 hours?
Today, I announced at the Intel Developer Forum that we are setting our sights on making this scenario a reality through an ambitious, open Platform-as-a-Service solution called the Collaborative Cancer Cloud.
The Collaborative Cancer Cloud is a precision medicine analytics platform that allows institutions to securely share patient genomic, imaging and clinical data for potentially lifesaving discoveries. It will enable large amounts of data from sites all around the world to be analyzed in a distributed way, while preserving the privacy and security of that patient data at each site.
The end goal is to empower researchers and doctors to help patients receive a diagnosis based on their genome and potentially arm clinicians with the data needed for a targeted treatment plan. By 2020, we envision this happening in 24 hours — All in One Day. The focus is to help cancer centers worldwide—and eventually centers for other diseases—securely share their private clinical and research data with one another to generate larger datasets to benefit research and inform the specific treatment of their individual patients.
The Rise of Precision Medicine
Precision medicine – taking into account individual differences in people’s genes, environments, and lifestyles – is one of the biggest of the big data problems and is on the cusp of a remarkable transformation in medicine. We view genomics as the first wave of precision medicine, and we’re working with our partners to drive adoption of genomic sequencers, genomic appliances, and cloud-based genomic analytics. With the Collaborative Cancer Cloud, we are combining next generation Intel technologies and bio-science advancements to enable solutions that make it easier, faster, and more affordable for developers, researchers, and clinicians to understand any disease that has a genetic component, starting with Cancer.
Initially, Intel and the Knight Cancer Institute at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) will launch the Collaborative Cancer Cloud. We expect two new institutions will be on board by 2016, addressing the critical need for larger patient pools and practitioner awareness. And from there, we can open up this federated, secure Collaborative Cancer Cloud network to dozens of others institutions—or let them create their own–to accelerate the science and the precision treatment options for clinicians to share with their patients. They can also apply it to advance personalized research in other diseases that are known to have a genetic component, including Alzheimer’s, diabetes, autism, and more.
In the same timeframe, we also intend to deliver open source code contributions to ensure the broadest developer base possible is working on delivering interoperable solutions. Open sourcing this code will drive both interoperability across different clouds, and allow analytics across a broader set of data – resulting in better insights for personalized care.
A Complementary Effort
You may be asking, “Haven’t we seen efforts like this before?” There have been numerous multi-institution partnerships formed to utilize big data analytics to look for insights about cancer and its treatment. Our focus on the federation/distribution of private datasets is complementary to the exciting work that’s happening to make public data sets more accessible to research. In CCC, each partner will maintain control of its patients’ data, while the shareable cancer treatment knowledgebase grows in availability and in impact. We want to help harness the power of that data — in a way that benefits clinicians, researchers and patients with a better knowledgebase and preserves security and privacy. By securely sharing clinical and research data amongst many institutions while maintaining patient privacy, the entire research community can benefit from insights revealed in large data cohorts.
In the end, precision medicine will only be as precise as available data allows. To better understand complex diseases like cancer, the medical and technology industries must collaborate to make the growing wealth of insights resulting from secure analysis of public and private genetic datasets accessible for the patient’s benefit. And if we do, we can turn an agonizing and uncertain process for the patient into a personalized process that occurs all in one day.
We encourage you to view the links below to learn more about our work with OHSU:
Learn more about precision medicine and genomic code research at these resources:
Eric Dishman is the Director of Proactive Health Research at Intel Corporation. This post originally appeared on Intel’s Health & Life Sciences blog.