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St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Takes to the Cloud

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St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Takes to the Cloud

Patient genome sequences can now be shared and analyzed by researchers around the globe.

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St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has long been known as a leader in the fight to cure childhood cancer. And now it’s being recognized as another type of leader – in digital innovation.

With the launch of the St. Jude Cloud, cancer researchers can not only store their data in one central location, making it accessible to others around the globe, but they can also analyze it right on the spot using groundbreaking technology, an initiative that’s earned the organization the coveted Digital Edge 50 Award for 2019.

Speaking with CIO senior editor Peter Sayer earlier this month, St. Jude’s senior VP Keith Perry explained the organization’s chief motivation: “We're a charity. Our No. 1 focus is finding cures and saving children, and we take that very seriously. … We cannot think of this data that we're producing or the concepts that we're producing as our own. We're just stewards of knowledge that's being generated.”

And they’re not just storing any data in the cloud. As part of their research efforts into some of the rarest forms of childhood cancer, they’ve recorded the entire genome sequences of more than 5,000 patients, each sequence being around 100 gigabytes.

Due to this sheer volume of data, St. Jude knew it had to develop a better, more efficient way to analyze it, as researchers are often looking for information found in a mere few bytes. So they turned to the hospital’s department of computational microbiology to develop software “that takes the data from the genomic sequencer and processes it to help researchers understand the characteristics of the genome and any mutations it contains,” the CIO piece explains.  

St. Jude also worked closely with DNAnexus, a genome informatics and data management platform, as well as Microsoft Azure, the initiative’s cloud provider, to make this project a reality.

For more information on the project, head on over to the St. Jude’s Cloud site.

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Topics:
azure ,bioinformatics ,health and medical ,cancer care ,genome

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