Cancer Treatment Gets A Boost From Genomic SupercomputingBy: Sean Patterson - October 4, 2012
Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, Chairman of NantHealth and the Chan Soon-Shiong Institute for Advanced Health, as well as the most wealthy American in Los Angeles according to Forbes, this week announced the launch of the fastest genomic supercomputing platform in the U.S.
Soon-Shiong states that the technology will reduce the time needed for cancer genome analysis from eight weeks to only 47 seconds. It will allow oncologists to compare treatment options with regard to genetics, risk, and cost before treatment even begins.
At an event on Tuesday hosted by the Bipartisan Policy Center and Doctors Helping Doctors, Soon-Shiong revealed the successful real-time analysis of the largest collection of tumor genomes in the U.S. 6,017 cancer genomes from 3,022 patients with 19 different types of cancer were analyzed in the record time of 69 hours.
NantHealth, the company that developed the technology, stated that genomic analysis, until now, took an average of 8 to 10 weeks. In that time, doctors would have to choose a course of treatment without knowing the results, sometimes leading to incorrect treatment.
“Incorrect care that leads to a loss of life is unacceptable,” said Soon-Shiong. “And from today onward, it will no longer be necessary. Doctors will finally be able to provide higher-quality treatment in a dramatically more efficient, effective, and affordable manner.”
NantHealth and the Chan Soon-Shiong Institute for Advanced Health partnered with Blue Shield of California, the National LambdaRail, Doctors Helping Doctors, Verizon, Bank of America, AT&T, Intel, and HP to build a supercomputer-based high-speed fiber network that will provide oncologists with genomic analysis in seconds. NantHealth stated that the advance will allow doctors to treat patients based on the DNA of cancer, rather than just its anatomical location.
NantHealth reported that its partner oncologists who are using its software platform, called Eviti, have seen incorrect recommendations by doctors drop from 32% to “virtually zero.”
“We can’t reduce the cost of care and improve outcomes in cancer if we don’t have the capability to know the right treatment for the right patient before treatment begins,” said Soon-Shiong. “We needed a national supercomputing infrastructure that brings genomic medicine into clinical practice. By placing supercomputers in the hands of physicians, that need is now a reality.”