The childhood cancer research computing cluster created and donated by
Dell for the Translational Genomics
Research Institute (TGen) is ready to support the world's first
precision medicine clinical trial for pediatric cancer. The computation
performance of the cluster is expected to accelerate analysis and
identification of targeted treatments beyond initial projections.
Oncologists from the Neuroblastoma
and Medulloblastoma Translational Research Consortium (NMTRC) and
biomedical researchers from TGen will use the new high
performance computing and collaboration cloud to identify targeted
treatments for pediatric cancer patients based on the specific genetic
vulnerabilities of each child's tumor—an approach that could be used to
treat many pediatric and adult cancers in the future.
Dell's team has completed the high performance computing cluster that
will serve as the cloud's computational foundation and basis for a
private cloud. When equipped with Dell's latest server technology—the
PowerEdge M420—and a parallel approach to computation, TGen can analyze
comprehensively a patient's tumor RNA profile in one day versus the
seven days that were previously required—an important advantage in the
battle against aggressive childhood cancers. With the dedicated
computing cluster in place, Dell will begin to connect the biomedical
researchers sequencing and analyzing patient tumors at TGen in Arizona
with oncologists providing treatment to patients participating in the
trial at 11 medical centers. The new cloud will eliminate the need to
express mail hard drives containing tumor and diagnostic images and
genomic sequencing data between locations.
There has been only one new treatment for pediatric cancer approved by
the FDA since the 1980s, compared with 50 treatments approved for adult
cancer in this same timeframe. As a result, pediatric oncologists have
relied upon treatments designed for adults, with toxic side effects that
are frequently as physically detrimental to the child as the cancer
itself. Precision medicine can overcome these barriers with treatments
that target the specific vulnerabilities of each child's tumor, leaving
healthy cells untouched.
In related news, the NMTRC welcomed Dell Children's Medical Center in
Austin, Texas, to its membership and the list of hospitals participating
in the clinical trial as it continues to expand medical center
participation in the US and globally. And Ronald McDonald House
Charities announced Dell's contribution of $100,000 to support Ronald
McDonald houses in 14 cities and the families who rely upon them when
they are away from home for treatment.
Dell's donations of cloud computing to TGen for the precision medicine
clinical trial and funds to Ronald McDonald House Charities are part of
the company's multiyear, multimillion dollar commitment of technology,
funding and employee engagement to improve childhood cancer treatment
"There is no time to waste for children and families battling aggressive
and deadly cancers like neuroblastoma," said James Coffin, Ph.D., vice
president and general manager, Dell Healthcare and Life Sciences.
"That's why Dell is focused on driving results faster—faster than our
initial projections—for TGen and NMTRC so that they accelerate
time-to-targeted treatment for children participating in the clinical
trial and can open participation to more children over time."
"This conference provides a great opportunity for researchers,
clinicians and families to assess the state of pediatric cancer care
today," said Dr. Jeffrey Trent, TGen's President and Research Director.
"The collaborative model behind this conference is a great example of
how through partnerships we can positively move research and treatment
forward at a pace not seen before."
"On behalf of the NMTRC, we are incredibly thankful for Dell's support
and expertise to help in the care of our patients," said Giselle
Sholler, Co-Director of the Pediatric Oncology Translational Research
Program at the Van Andel Institute. "This meeting will bring together
the top physicians, researchers and parent advocates working
collaboratively to accelerate the search for a cure."
Translational Genomics Research Institute