…”these professionals were miracle workers, but they’re working in a flawed, expensive system set up the wrong way. Dependent on hospitals and clinics for our every care need. Dependent on specialists who just look at parts of us. Dependent on guesswork of diagnoses and drug cocktails. Something either works or you die. A model that is unsustainable globally. Unaffordable globally…” – Eric Dishman
The annual GDP of every country in the world is usually calculated, every year, by four major agencies: IMF, World Bank, CIA World Factbook and of course the United Nations.
Conform to their calculations, U.S. expenditure on healthcare last year was above the GDP (gross domestic product) of Germany. To give you a better understanding on the scale of the spending, on the GDP ranking of the world for 2015, Germany is top 5. Top 5 on the planet, close to 7% of the world economy.
Are We That Sick?
U.S. spent $3.8 trillions on healthcare in 2014 and it’s expected to reach $4.1 trillions by the end of 2015, with cancer in particular becoming more expensive.
According to a recent study by MIT researchers (pdf) David H. Howard, Peter B. Bach, Ernst R. Berndt and Rena M. Conti, the cost of new cancer drugs has increased by 10% annually, even when adjusted for inflation.
The financial costs of cancer are high for both the person with cancer and for society as a whole. The Agency for Healthcare research and Quality (AHRQ) report shows that the direct medical costs for cancer in the US in 2011 were $88.7 billions.
50% of this cost is for hospital outpatient or doctor office visits
35% of this cost is for inpatient hospital stays
11% of this cost is for prescription drugs
“…Something either works or you die. A model that is unsustainable globally. Unaffordable globally…” Eric Dishman.
Eric Dishman, is an Intel Fellow and general manager of the Intel’s Health & Life Sciences division.His 200-member team is scattered across the globe, from Asia to Europe, from London to Beijing.
When Eric Dishman was in college, doctors told him he had 2 to 3 years to live. It took 23 years of treatment, the help of cancer experts and genomics analysts who, over the course of three months, were able to figure out his problem and devise a specialised treatment that eventually worked.
From Months to Hours
More than 14 million people worldwide were diagnosed with cancer in 2012 according to the World Health Organisation and that number is expected to rise about 70 percent over the next 20 years.
Instead of going through painful chemotherapy that can kill healthy cells along with cancerous cells, those patients can be treated based on their specific genome sequencing, within 24 hours with new, modern, digital health technologies.
Related Article: Top 10 Companies In Digital Health
Brian Druker, a researcher at Oregon Health & Science University, said, “It took 23 years to develop a personalised treatment for Eric. We should be able to do this in one day.”
Intel and OHSU (Oregon Health & Science University) have joined the digital health race by launching a cloud-based platform for cancer research.
Intel first announced its intentions to build the platform for cancer research back in 2013. The goal at that time was to build a research data centre, together with OHSU that would enable researchers to access and study the genomic profile of tumours, using Intel-powered supercomputing technology.
Doctors Help Doctors
At its annual conference for developers, Intel announced that two new organisations are expected to join the digital health “Collaborative Cancer Cloud” platform, by 2016. The company’s data analytics software system, “Discovery Peak, will help process health related information in the “cancer cloud”.
The “Discovery Peak” platform was especially designed to accelerate the development of cloud based applications, simplifying the process of deployment in local and public clouds while providing increased performance and safety of the analytical workloads.
Leading The Digital Health
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. The cancer cloud platform will preserve the privacy and security of patients while allowing the collected data to be access, analysed and processed all over the world.
The “Collaborative Cancer Cloud” is a secure platform that allows multiple organisations full access without the fear that something could go wrong, said Diane M. Bryant, senior vice president and general manager at Intel Data Centre Group. Eventually, Intel and OHSU will expand the digital health platform to handle other types of medical research like Alzheimer’s and heart disease, she said.
As a complement, Intel plans to deliver open source code contributions to ensure the broadest developer base possible is working on delivering interoperable solutions. Dishman says open sourcing the code will drive both interoperability across different clouds and allow analytics across a broader set of data.
The rapid development of next generation sequencing (NGS) technology provides a new chance to extend the scale and resolution of genomic research. How to efficiently map millions of short reads to the reference genome and how to make accurate SNP calls are two major challenges in taking full advantage of NGS.
A team working on the Chinese supercomputer achieved a 45x speedup on a single node of the system without a loss in precision by refining their approach to parallelisation of a critical part of the genomic analysis pipeline.
By revamping how a commonly used SNP detection framework shares the load via the team’s mSNP framework, they take this single node performance and scale it to just over 4,000 nodes of the Xeon Phi-boosted super.
“Imagine a heart surgeon operating to repair a blocked coronary artery. Someday soon, the surgeon might run a detailed computer simulation of blood flowing through the patient’s arteries, showing how millions of red blood cells jostle and tumble through the small vessels.
The simulation would identify the best repair strategy. With a fast enough computer, it could all be done in a few minutes, while the operation is under way.” Efthimios Kaxiras, Leading expert in Pure and Applied Physics.
Ultimately, the development in exascale computing is the key to digital health. China is the leaderat the moment with Tianhe-2 of the National Super Computer Centre in Guangzhou, China. Tianhe – ‘Milky Way’ in English – has a top speed of 33.860.000.000.000.000 computations per second, in computer speak 33,86 petaflops.
We encourage you to view the links below and learn more about Intel’s collaboration with OHSU: