Nov 23 2015

Intel's Cancer Cloud Shows Promise for Agencies

The project connects doctors from different organizations to share information to improve healthcare.

The growth of cloud computing continues to create new opportunities for technology companies to offer better access to information.

This summer, Intel, in a collaborative effort with Oregon Health & Science University, launched the Collaborative Cancer Cloud, which, as it grows out, will provide medical researchers and practitioners with a wealth of data on all aspects of cancer that can be used to better serve patients.

At its core, the Collaborative Cancer Cloud allows doctors and researchers to share patient data, the goal being to further critical discoveries about the disease. However, instead of placing that data in a consolidated single cloud architecture — as some organizations already do — Intel’s project allows each organization to continue to host its own data but lets others use it behind a firewall.

Intel’s Eric Dishman described it earlier this year:

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 idea comes from how the medical community already works,” said Ketan Paranjape, general manager of life sciences and analytics at Intel. “Physicians typically talk to one another about patients to share a collective knowledge. Usually, though, that conversation stalls out. The Collaborative Cancer Cloud improves that combined knowledge, allowing doctors and their patients to benefit.”

Along with Oregon Health & Science University, Intel expects other institutions to join in the future. Paranjape said Intel wants to add partners to the project in a structured manner, making sure the cloud works in practice the way the company has envisioned it. The hope is that increased adoption will lead to better information sharing and knowledge.

Paranjape added that while the project is starting with cancer treatment, it can be expanded to tackle other diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, diabetes and autism.

The cloud computing structure could also be used in other organizations, especially government agencies, if it goes through the FedRAMP cloud security process. Paranjape said the Collaborative Cancer Cloud is built on technology that enhances workflow management and security.

“The goal is to build a trusted infrastructure that becomes part of a doctor’s checklist for treating a patient. If that happens, we can see great results,” he said.