Author Archive

Telemedicine Part 1: TeleRadiology as the growth medium of Precision Medicine

Sanjay Joshi

CTO, Healthcare & Life-Sciences at EMC
Sanjay Joshi is the Isilon CTO of Healthcare and Life Sciences at the EMC Emerging Technologies Division. Based in Seattle, Sanjay's 28+ year career has spanned the entire gamut of life-sciences and healthcare from clinical and biotechnology research to healthcare informatics to medical devices. His current focus is a systems view of Healthcare, Genomics and Proteomics for infrastructures and informatics. Recent experience has included information and instrument systems in Electronic Medical Records; Proteomics and Flow Cytometry; FDA and HIPAA validations; Lab Information Management Systems (LIMS); Translational Genomics research and Imaging. Sanjay holds a patent in multi-dimensional flow cytometry analytics. He began his career developing and building X-Ray machines. Sanjay was the recipient of a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant and has been a consultant or co-Principal-Investigator on several NIH grants. He is actively involved in non-profit biotech networking and educational organizations in the Seattle area and beyond. Sanjay holds a Master of Biomedical Engineering from the University of New South Wales, Sydney and a Bachelor of Instrumentation Technology from Bangalore University. He has completed several medical school and PhD level courses.

Real “health care” happens when telemedicine is closely joined to a connected-care delivery model that has prevention and continuity-of-care at its core. This model has been defined well, but only sparsely adopted. As John Hockenberry, host of the morning show “The Takeaway” on National Public Radio, eloquently puts it: “health is not episodic.” We need a continuous care system.

Telemedicine makes it possible for you to see a specialist like me without driving hundreds of miles

Image source: Chest. 2013,143 (2):295-295. doi:10.1378/chest.143.2.295

How do we get the “right care to the right patient at the right time”? Schleidgen et al define Precision Medicine also known as Personalized Medicine (1) as seeking “to improve stratification and timing of health care by utilizing biological information and biomarkers on the level of molecular disease pathways, genetics, proteomics as well as metabolomics.” Precision Medicine (2) is an orthogonal, multimodal view of the patient from her/his cells to pathways to organs to health and disease. There are several devices and transducers that would catalyze telemedicine: Radiology, Pathology, and Wearables. I will focus on Radiology for this part of my three-part series, since all of these modalities use multi-spectral imaging.

Where first?
The world is still mostly rural. According to World Bank statistics, 19% of the USA is rural, but the worldwide average is about 30% which is a spectrum from 0% rural (Hong Kong) to 74% rural (Afghanistan). With the recent consolidations (since 2010 in the US) of hospitals into larger organizations (3), it is this 30% to 70% of the world with sparse network connectivity that needs telemedicine sooner than the well-off “worried well” folks who live in dense urban areas with close access to healthcare. China has the world’s largest number of hospitals at around 60,000 followed by India at around 15,000. The US tally is approximately 5,700 hospitals. The counter-argument to the rural needs in the US is the risk of reduction of physician numbers (4), the growing numbers of the urban poor and the elderly. Then there is the plight of poor health amongst the world’s millions of refugees who are usually stuck in no-mans-lands, fleeing conflicts that never seem to wane. All these use-cases are valid, but need prioritization.

Connected Health and the “Saver App”
Many a fortune has been made by devising and selling “killer apps” on mobile platforms. In healthcare what we need is a “saver app.” Using the pyscho-social keys to the success of these “sticky” technologies, Dr. Joseph C. Kvedar succinctly builds the case for connected health in his recent book “The Internet of Healthy Things” with three strategies and three tactics:

Strategies: (1) Make It about Life; (2) Make It Personal; and (3) Reinforce Social Connections.

Tactics: (1) Employ Messaging; (2) Use Unpredictable Rewards; and (3) Use the Sentinel Effect.

Dr. Kvedar calls this “digital therapies.”

The Vendor Neutral Archive (VNA) and Virtual Radiology
The Western Roentgen Society, a predecessor of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA), was founded in 1915 in St. Louis, Missouri (soon after the invention of the X-Ray tube in Bavaria in 1895). An interactive timeline of Radiology events can be seen here. Innovations in Radiology have always accelerated the innovations in healthcare.

The Radiology value chain is in its images and clinical reporting, as summarized in the diagram below (5):

Radiology value chain

To scale this value-chain for telemedicine, we need much larger adoption of VNA, which is an “Enterprise Class” data management system. A VNA consolidates multiple Imaging Departments into:

  • a master directory,
  • associated storage and
  • lifecycle management of data

The difference between PACS (Picture Archiving and Communications System) (6) and VNA is the Image Display and the Image Manager layers respectively.

The Image Display layer is a PACS Vendor or a Cloud based “image program”. All Admit, Discharge and Transfer (ADT) information must reside with the image. This means DICOM standards and HL7 X.12N interoperability (using service protocols like FHIR) are critical. The Image Manager for VNA is the “storage layer of images”, either local or cloud based. For telemedicine to be successful, VNA must “scale-out” exponentially and in a distributed manner within a privacy and security context.

VNA’s largest players (alphabetically) are: Agfa, CareStream, FujiFilm (TeraMedica), IBM (Merge), Perceptive Software (Acuo), Philips and Siemens. The merger of NightHawk Radiology with vRad which was then acquired by MedNax and IBM’s acquisition of Merge Healthcare (in Aug 2015) are important landmarks in this trend.

One of the most interesting journal articles in 2015 was on “Imaging Genomics” (or Radiomics) of glioblastoma, a brain cancer. By bidirectionally linking imaging features to the underlying molecular features, the authors (7) have created a new field of non-invasive genomic biomarkers.

Imagine this “virtual connected hive” of patients on one side and physicians, radiologists and pathologists on the other, constantly monitoring and improving the care of a population in health and disease at the individual and personal level. Telemedicine needs to be the anchor architecture for Precision Medicine. Without Telemedicine (and VNA), there is no Precision Medicine.

Postscript: Telepresence in mythology
Let me end this tale of distance and care with a little echo from my namesake, Sanjaya, who is mentioned in the first chapter of the first verse of the Bhagvad Gita (literally translated as the “Song of the Lord”) – an existential dialog between the warrior Arjuna and his charioteer, Krishna. The Gita, as it is commonly known, is set within the longest Big Data poem with over 100,000 verses (and 1.8 million words), the Mahabharata, estimated to be first written around 400 BCE.

Dhritarashtra, the blind king, starts this great book-within-book by enquiring: “O Sanjaya, what did my sons and the sons of Pandu decide about battle after assembling at the holy land of righteousness Kurukshetra?”

Sanjaya starts the Gita by peering into the great yonder. He is bestowed with the divine gift of seeing events afar (divya-drishti); he is the king’s tele-vision – and Dhritarashtra’s advisor and charioteer (just like Krishna in the Gita). The other great religions and mythologies also mention telepresence in their seminal books.

My tagline for the “trickle down” in technology innovation flow is “from Defense to Life Sciences to Pornography to Finance to Commerce to Healthcare.” One interpretation of the Mahabharata is that it did not have any gods – all miracles were added later. Perhaps we have now reached the pivot point for telepresence which has happened in war to “trickle down” into population scale healthcare without divine intervention or miracles!

References:

  1. Schleidgen et al, “What is personalized medicine: sharpening a vague term based on a systematic literature review”, BMC Medical Ethics, Dec 2013, 14:55
  2. “Toward Precision Medicine”, Natl. Acad. Press, June 2012
  3. McCue MJ, et al, “Hospital Acquisitions Before Healthcare Reform”, Journal of Healthcare Management, 2015 May-Jun; 60(3):186-203.
  4. Petterson SM, et al, “Estimating the residency expansion required to avoid projected primary care physician shortages by 2035”, Annals of Family Medicine 2015 Mar; 13(2):107-14. doi: 10.1370/afm.1760
  5. Enzmann DR, “Radiology’s Value Chain”, Radiology: Volume 263: Number 1, April 2012, pp 243-252
  6. Huang HK, “PACS and Imaging Informatics: Basic Principles and Applications”, Wiley-Blackwell; 2 edition (January 12, 2010)
  7. Moton S, et al, “Imaging genomics of glioblastoma: biology, biomarkers, and breakthroughs”, Topics in Magnetic Resonance Imaging. 2015

 

Get first access to our LifeScience Solutions

The Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) Annual Meeting 2015 — Summary Report

Sanjay Joshi

CTO, Healthcare & Life-Sciences at EMC
Sanjay Joshi is the Isilon CTO of Healthcare and Life Sciences at the EMC Emerging Technologies Division. Based in Seattle, Sanjay's 28+ year career has spanned the entire gamut of life-sciences and healthcare from clinical and biotechnology research to healthcare informatics to medical devices. His current focus is a systems view of Healthcare, Genomics and Proteomics for infrastructures and informatics. Recent experience has included information and instrument systems in Electronic Medical Records; Proteomics and Flow Cytometry; FDA and HIPAA validations; Lab Information Management Systems (LIMS); Translational Genomics research and Imaging. Sanjay holds a patent in multi-dimensional flow cytometry analytics. He began his career developing and building X-Ray machines. Sanjay was the recipient of a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant and has been a consultant or co-Principal-Investigator on several NIH grants. He is actively involved in non-profit biotech networking and educational organizations in the Seattle area and beyond. Sanjay holds a Master of Biomedical Engineering from the University of New South Wales, Sydney and a Bachelor of Instrumentation Technology from Bangalore University. He has completed several medical school and PhD level courses.

Wilhelm Konrad Roentgen, Professor of Physics in Worzburg, Bavaria discovered X-Rays in 1895 by observing and deducing an accidental exposure of energy from his early design cathode ray tube onto a photographic plate. The first X-Ray was of his wife’s hand, shown below. X-Rays are one of the earliest great discoveries of the post-Renaissance age, even before E=mc2. Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) has been the definitive gathering place for the future of Radiology and Healthcare technology for as long as I can remember. X-Rays and its cousin spectra drive most of the new innovations in instrumentation, process and informatics.

XrayThe Western Roentgen Society, a predecessor of the RSNA, was founded in 1915 in St. Louis, Missouri. RSNA celebrated its centennial last year in Chicago (the anchor city for the conference for a long time). An interactive timeline of RSNA and Radiology events can be seen here.

I broke my almost 18-year attendance hiatus after my RSNA Associate membership acceptance this year; I started my career building X-Ray machines many, many moons ago and have worked in most Radiology modalities.

Technology Highlights:

The scale of the conference was impressive, as has always been. The Technical and Exhibition Hall was massive at the McCormick Place Conference Center in Chicago. With about 670 exhibitors (105 new exhibitors) and the “who’s who” anchors like Bayer, Canon, CareStream, FUJIFILM, GE, Hitachi, Hologic, McKesson, Philips, Samsung, Shimadzu, Siemens, Terarecon and Toshiba this year’s technology innovation highlights were:

  • GE 1.5 Tesla and 3 Tesla MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) instrument with Total Digital Imaging (TDI) as well as CardioVascular Ultrasound systems with HDlive.
  • Siemens 3D Advanced Visualization software, Cloud-based imaging network and xSPECT (Single Proton Emission Computed Tomography) for bone scans along with the combination of MRI-PET and PET-CT modalities.
  • Virtual Reality (True3D), 3D printing, Human Connectome, Machine Learning and Deep Learning.
  • RSNA Image Share, a Provider and Patient service.
  • The maturing of Vendor Neutral Archives (VNA).

Plenary sessions:

On Monday November 30th, the “New Horizons Lecture: Redefining Innovation” was delivered by Jeffrey R. Immelt, Chairman and CEO of GE. Mr. Immelt made the point that GE was both in the instrumentation innovator (US$20B) and payor (US$2.5B) revenue streams in healthcare. He emphasized that improving the ecosystem (consumerism + access, chronic disease outcomes, lower cost and behavior changes) as well as sustaining innovation (neural MRI, decision support, image guided interventions, automated image analysis and productivity) were its guiding principles. Precision Medicine, integration of Radiology with Pathology, cell therapy using Bioprocessing, mobile technologies at global scale and analytics were the central innovation themes for GE.

On Tuesday, December 1st, Dr. James H. Thrall, Chairman Emeritus, Department of Radiology at Massachusetts General Hospital, delivered the “Annual Oration in Diagnostic Radiology: Trends and Developments Shaping the Future of Radiology”. He outlined three themes: imaging technologies, infrastructure and information/communications systems, and the application of the imaging correlates of precision medicine. Dr. Thrall presented a Venn diagram of all imaging modalities. The various inter-modal intersection sets were highlighted with specific mention of PET-CT-MRI and the work of Dr. Ge Wang and Omni-Tomography was highlighted as shown in the figure below:

Omni Tomography

Of particular note to me was the official entry of “Precision Medicine” into the RSNA lexicon. This is the first year I have heard of the term “RadioGenomics” and “RadiOmics” in a major conference (first mentioned by Andreassen et al in 2002). Dr. Thrall made it a point to mention shorter acquisition times and lower radiation dosage to the patient.

Dr. Ronald Arenson, RSNA President, introduced both plenary speakers.

Academic Sessions:

My focus for the 2015 Academic sessions was Informatics. Here are the condensed highlights:

Dr. Charles Kahn (U Penn) and Dr. Bradley Erickson (Mayo) led the inaugural “Year in Review” for Imaging Informatics. This session was jointly sponsored by RSNA, AMIA (American Medical Informatics Association) and SIIM (Society for Imaging Informatics in Medicine). The format was a dense, rapid-fire summary of key topics for 2015 as well as the seminal journal articles on various topics, which were the foci of other informatics sessions:

“The Text Information Extraction for Radiology Reporting” session presented techniques using NLP, Machine Learning and Deep Learning. A majority of radiologists would like to see structured reporting. The tools mentioned were OpenNLP, Mallet, cTAKES, eHOST, VINCI ChartReview and NCBO Annotator.

One of the more useful “hands-on” sessions that I attended was “Radio-Genomic Research: Accessing Clinical Imaging-Genomics-Pathology Data from Public Archives-The Cancer Imaging Archive” led by Dr. C. Carl Jaffe and Dr. Fred W. Prior. The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) data portal is well known in the Genomics. The NIH has now created The Cancer Image Archive (TCIA) which has specific deidentified images for integrating Radiology with Genomics.

There was an entire morning session devoted to “Digital Information Security and Medical Imaging Equipment” which covered the instrumentation layers, protocols and regulations in some detail. It is interesting to note that Radiology Imaging client applications are still using OSx as the primary platform, with some “hands-on” sessions for DICOM not using other OSes at all. It is time for a web service based imaging application to come to the fore.

I strongly believe that integrating (and interoperating with) Radiology and Pathology phenotypic moieties into Genomics knowledge will be the real catalyst for the adoption of Genomics as an early clinical test (which is getting more complex by the month). Oh, and let’s not forget Proteomics. If multi-modal Radiology becomes reality soon (especially PET-CT-MRI), using biomarker-guided imaging, the data generated and the analytics required both grow exponentially. We are getting to that unified “Healthcare Data Lake” as shown below:

EMC Healthcare

RSNA is now one of the top two academic conferences in the United States (and maybe worldwide) with a 2014 attendance of about 57,000. The 2015 attendance dropped, with registered attendants numbering about 48,000 (as of this writing). Here is hoping for more radiologists, technologists, innovators and patient advocates for this year’s RSNA!

Stay warm and healthy!

 Author’s notes: The opinions expressed herein are my own and not necessarily those of EMC. Hyperlinks are embedded within specific words or phrases. Please contact me if you need details on any of the above topics.

 

Making Trust and Collaboration a Unified Force in Science

Sanjay Joshi

CTO, Healthcare & Life-Sciences at EMC
Sanjay Joshi is the Isilon CTO of Healthcare and Life Sciences at the EMC Emerging Technologies Division. Based in Seattle, Sanjay's 28+ year career has spanned the entire gamut of life-sciences and healthcare from clinical and biotechnology research to healthcare informatics to medical devices. His current focus is a systems view of Healthcare, Genomics and Proteomics for infrastructures and informatics. Recent experience has included information and instrument systems in Electronic Medical Records; Proteomics and Flow Cytometry; FDA and HIPAA validations; Lab Information Management Systems (LIMS); Translational Genomics research and Imaging. Sanjay holds a patent in multi-dimensional flow cytometry analytics. He began his career developing and building X-Ray machines. Sanjay was the recipient of a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant and has been a consultant or co-Principal-Investigator on several NIH grants. He is actively involved in non-profit biotech networking and educational organizations in the Seattle area and beyond. Sanjay holds a Master of Biomedical Engineering from the University of New South Wales, Sydney and a Bachelor of Instrumentation Technology from Bangalore University. He has completed several medical school and PhD level courses.

Try to recall all the superhero movies you have watched. Many of us would agree that the films which are most captivating are those where superheroes collaborate as a team to defeat a near invincible villain – like in The Avengers. When there is collaboration, there is trust. Dr. Douglas Fridsma, President and CEO of the AMIA (American Medical Informatics Association) mentioned a phrase in a panel discussion we were on in 2012 that stuck with me. “Information moves at the speed of trust.” And, trust is at the heart of any collaboration. New forms of trust and collaboration networks have been forming since 2008, and the “bitcoin” is a great example of this. The “BlockChain” method behind bitcoin, discussed in an article published by The Economist and illustrated in the figure below is a new approach to trust and collaboration.

This figure illustrates the "BlockChain" method behind bitcoin.

Scientists are our Modern-day X-Men

Taking this parallel and comparing it to the sphere of scientific research – notably in biomedical sciences, this is an area where breakthroughs can deliver better health outcomes for mankind – like superheroes do, but only if scientists have the means of working together. All humans are continuously mutating; and I’d like to think that scientists are our modern day X-Men (and Women)!

The two most exciting disruptions in science recently are Synthetic Biology advances and the CRISPR gene editing enzyme system. Both of these innovations have enormous implications for biomedical sciences and the future of healthcare advancements.

Recently, a young girl in London with Leukemia was treated with Gene Editing Therapy. This case used a gene editing enzyme system called TALEN. This is but one of the many leaps that have been made possible through collaborative scientific research.

Fueling and Steering Scientific Research

Research is fueled by data. Discoveries are steered by the management of data. Even superheroes like Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk need some form of cognitive direction to focus their superhuman powers in order to achieve a common desired outcome. To build trust and collaboration frameworks, we need a single logical container of data. And this is why EMC has the Data Lake concept: a multi-user, multi-protocol, multi-application container for data which is geo-aware and secure.

We know that research is ultra-data intensive. To implement Precision Medicine at population health scale, there are two pivots: Collaboration and Asia. The Malaysia Genome Institute (MGI) engages in national and international collaborative projects in comparative genomics and genetics, structural and synthetic biology, computational and systems biology, and metabolic engineering. When MGI does DNA sequencing, whole genome sequencing, whole transcriptome sequencing, and targeted sequencing, a single run generates 13 terabytes of data. That’s equivalent to over 2.6 million songs in your iPod.

Being able to discover insights through large chunks of data is what differentiates progress from stalemate for the institution and its partners. MGI had a problem. As MGI increased its storage capacity to cope with the influx of research data, data processing speed decreased, which slowed down analysis work.

That was before MGI adopted EMC Isilon’s scalable on demand storage solution with its fast next-generation sequencing architecture. With the added benefit of having data access provided directly to users, this has also curbed the problem of bottlenecks within workflows and ensured ease of collaboration.

Read the MGI Case Study to learn more.

Tools for Teamwork in Research

Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) is a single agency that oversees 14 biomedical sciences, physical sciences, and engineering institutes as well as six consortia and centers.

So how does A*STAR encourage collaboration amongst scientists housed in different institutions?

There were two key issues A*STAR needed to address. One, sharing of data between institutions was done manually by researchers, who had to make a copy to transfer it to another party. It was both time consuming and wasteful in terms of storage due to the duplication of data within localized machines.

Two, long procurement periods – three to nine months – meant A*STAR didn’t have the means to scale up storage when the demand called for it. The opportunity cost was great.

Following the deployment of a comprehensive EMC Isilon platform, all that changed. Atop the increase in usable capacity with an option to scale on demand, researchers could now assign their data to a central storage, which could be shared within and across research institutes.

Says Lai Loong Fong, Director, Computational Resource Centre at A*STAR. “Users have been receptive to the new model. They are looking forward to the new features we can offer them to provide greater flexibility in accessing research data through their mobiles or laptops when they are working and meeting outside of the labs. It’s another way we can support innovation and collaboration across all of our research disciplines.”

Read the A*STAR Case Study to learn more.

Subject Data Protection

According to DOE Human Subjects Resources, the use of humans as research subjects has aided significant scientific discoveries such as the Human Genome Project. That being said, given that one’s genome contains personal health and other privy information, there needs to be measures in place to protect each subject’s privacy and prevent the loss of information. There are Ethical, Legal and Social Implication (ELSI) issues which can be resolved by trust and collaboration, as published by the Genome Law Review.

Looking at A*STAR as an example again, the agency has incorporated EMC Isilon SnapshotIQ into their platform which offers data protection through secure inbox snapshots and access to near-immediate, on-demand snapshot restores.

The sum of many great minds can achieve much greater things than the sum of one. And even greater still, scalable data storage on the cloud now makes it possible for great minds to work together, regardless of where they are. We can only begin to imagine what our modern-day science X-Men would be able to actualize in these new dynamic and secure collaborative environments.

 

Get first access to our LifeScience Solutions

Why DNA Sequencing Eclipses the Moon Landing

Sanjay Joshi

CTO, Healthcare & Life-Sciences at EMC
Sanjay Joshi is the Isilon CTO of Healthcare and Life Sciences at the EMC Emerging Technologies Division. Based in Seattle, Sanjay's 28+ year career has spanned the entire gamut of life-sciences and healthcare from clinical and biotechnology research to healthcare informatics to medical devices. His current focus is a systems view of Healthcare, Genomics and Proteomics for infrastructures and informatics. Recent experience has included information and instrument systems in Electronic Medical Records; Proteomics and Flow Cytometry; FDA and HIPAA validations; Lab Information Management Systems (LIMS); Translational Genomics research and Imaging. Sanjay holds a patent in multi-dimensional flow cytometry analytics. He began his career developing and building X-Ray machines. Sanjay was the recipient of a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant and has been a consultant or co-Principal-Investigator on several NIH grants. He is actively involved in non-profit biotech networking and educational organizations in the Seattle area and beyond. Sanjay holds a Master of Biomedical Engineering from the University of New South Wales, Sydney and a Bachelor of Instrumentation Technology from Bangalore University. He has completed several medical school and PhD level courses.

“That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Many of us are familiar with Neil Armstrong’s famous statement, marking one of mankind’s greatest scientific achievements of the 20th century.

Forward to the 21st century and that statement still holds true. This time, for a scientific accomplishment that we believe eclipses the moon landing: the completion of the Human Genome Project (HGP). Here’s why.

DNATo give you an idea of the project’s magnitude, it took 13 years and some 18 countries to identify between 20,000 to 25,000 genes, and determine the sequences of 3 billion chemical base pairs that make up the human DNA – according to Explorable. While there are recent studies that dispute this figure and have pegged the count of human genes at under 20,000, the point here is: The large scale collaboration efforts to complete this project is to ultimately achieve one thing, and that is to rid the world of the tyranny of disease.

Even Hollywood’s in on It

No, this isn’t a zombie apocalypse waiting to happen, of a biological experiment gone wrong like you’ve seen in The Walking Dead or World War Z. On the contrary, it is a pivotal breakthrough in mankind’s existence that has lead to the discovery of disease genes, paving the way for genetic tests and biotechnology-based products.

Citing a CNN story, we’re sure some of you have heard of Angelina Jolie’s double mastectomy in 2013 and how she had her ovaries removed in March 2015. But why? Genetic testing revealed that she was a carrier of the breast- and ovarian-cancer gene, BRCA1. A decision, though hard, that would reduce her cancer risk by a great deal.

Revving DNA Sequencing

The rise of DNA sequencing can be partially credited to a stark drop in the cost of whole genome sequencing, from US$100 million per human genome to between US$1,000 and US$3,000 today. Of course, we do need to consider the cost of analysis after genetic testing is completed, and that number can stretch to US$20,000. But that brings me to my point. Affordability for all-not just Hollywood celebrities. Affordability is a dream for scientists in this field. For one, they can now stretch funding budgets to take on more experimental risks and beef up their sequencing activities, pushing boundaries and gathering more research data that could lead to new discoveries.

That being said, we should all be aware that DNA sequencing functions on two engines: storage and speed. Its simple. Without enough space to store research data and the adequate speed to process this data, scientists have little means to glean insights.

Take for example, SciGenom Labs (SciGenom), a company based in Cochin, India. SciGenom focuses on molecular diagnostics, cancer treatment, and metagenomics. Prior to adopting an EMC Isilon X200 scale-out storage platform, it encountered performance reduction corresponding to storage expansion that adversely impacted the speed at which the analysis of large-scale biological data sets could be completed.

Post EMC Isilon, project tasks completion are now 40 percent faster. The lab expects to achieve reductions in the workflow times associated with analyzing, annotating, and understanding the terabytes of data generated every day by the sequencing machines.

Says Saneesh Chembakasseri, IT Manager at SciGenom Labs, “The key reason for moving to Isilon scale-out storage was to increase the performance and speed of analyzing raw data generated by DNA sequencing machines. There is no better choice in the market than EMC Isilon in providing both the needed scalability and performance for meeting the demands of DNA sequencing.”

Read the SciGenom Case Study to learn more.

Being Nimble Now a Reality

18 countries. Can you imagine the kind of coordination that went into HGP? To minimize miscommunication and mistakes, sequencing workflows not only had to be established way in advance. They also had to be nimble to adapt to changes. The only way to do so was to store and share findings seamlessly, even with massive quantities of data being exchanged. The same applies today to follow-on DNA sequencing initiatives.

Malaysia Genome Institute is another establishment that has embraced the strengths of EMC Isilon. Engaged in comparative genomics and genetics, structure and synthetic biology, computational and systems biology, and metabolic engineering, MGI has sequencing machines delivering 1 gigabyte per second of throughput. Putting it in perspective, that is an astounding 1 terabyte in under 17 minutes. MGI uses the Illumina HiSeq 2000 and Illumina MiSeq sequencing platforms for DNA sequencing, whole genome sequencing, whole transcriptome sequencing, and targeted resequencing

“The way we analyze Big Data can require millions of inputs at the same time. This involves transferring data back and forth between the storage and high-performance computing cluster. EMC can comfortably handle the high throughput required within the analysis,” says Mohd. Noor Mat Isa, Head of Genome Technology and Innovation at MGI.

Read the MGI Case Study to learn more.

A Healthier Future

The National Human Genome Research Institute discusses how individualized DNA analysis based on each person’s genome will lead to a very powerful form of predictive, personalized, participatory and preventive medicine, with the ability to learn about the risks of future illness – as seen with Angelina Jolie.

With this understanding, a new generation of more effective and precise drugs can be developed as compared to the one-size-fits-all versions available today. On how fast these breakthroughs will happen, we do not yet know. But for certain, storage and processing speed of Big Data lies at the heart of progress in the next few leaps for mankind.

 

Get first access to our LifeScience Solutions

Categories

Archives

Connect with us on Twitter