Partnership to advance pediatric cancer research and treatment in Australia via data management and analytics.

Children’s Cancer Institute (CCI) recently joined forces with NetApp to accelerate breakthroughs in pediatric cancer research and treatment. 

The five-year partnership between NetApp Australia and CCI is built on a shared vision to combat childhood cancer and improve outcomes for young cancer patients. NetApp’s expertise in data storage and data management plays a pivotal role in supporting the Institute’s research initiatives.

CCI is the only medical research institute in Australia that solely focuses on children with cancer – the leading cause of death for children and youths in the developed world. Globally, around 400,000 young people are diagnosed with cancer each year.

“To tackle the problem, you need better drugs, lots of engagement with clinicians and patients,” said Associate Professor Mark Cowley, a senior researcher at CCI. “You need core technological advances for really fast genome sequencing, to crack the DNA code of a patient’s tumor.”

By leveraging NetApp’s cutting-edge technology and robust data management solutions, CCI can efficiently store, manage, and access crucial research data. Through this partnership, CCI can now analyze 1TB of data per patient. 

The collaboration also ensures that researchers have the necessary tools and resources at their disposal to drive advancements in cancer research, ultimately paving the way for improved treatments and a brighter future for children battling cancer.

The CEO Dare to Cure fundraising events are a critical component of the partnership, raising vital funds to support Children’s Cancer Institute’s ongoing research projects.  “NetApp is honored to partner with Children’s Cancer Institute in its unwavering commitment to fighting childhood cancer,” said Mathew Hurford, Managing Director of NetApp Australia. “At NetApp, we understand the power of data and its potential to transform lives. By providing innovative data storage and management solutions, we aim to empower researchers and accelerate their quest to find better treatments and cures for childhood cancer.”

“We are thrilled to have Mathew Hurford on board as a Prime Partnership Ambassador for the CEO Dare to Cure events,” said Children’s Cancer Institute Director Marketing and Fundraising, Anne Johnston. “Matthew’s dedication and passion align perfectly with our mission to save the lives of all children with cancer… Not to mention the role NetApp’s technological expertise and support has played. It has been instrumental and invaluable in our research efforts, enabling us to make significant strides in understanding childhood cancer and developing new targeted treatments.”

“By partnering with NetApp, we can better manage and analyze the vast amount of genetic data generated through our research, facilitating collaborations, and accelerating discoveries. This partnership brings us one step closer to finding a cure for childhood cancer. As we say, ‘It’s not if, it’s when.'”

To get there, key questions that are still being asked in the research include: “Why does this drug work on some patients and not others? Is it a matter of timing or dosage?” and “How do we get to 100% survival with no toxicity?”

These questions often boil down to the effectiveness and speed in clinical trials, precision medicine and translational research. At NetApp INSIGHTS 2023, the CCI delegation also learnt how AI can be applied to advance research and genome sequencing using huge data sets.