The Cloud Helps in the Fight Against Cancer

 
 
By Samuel Greengard  |  Posted 2013-12-02
 
 
 
cloud fights cancer

It's no secret that early detection is a key to discovering and treating breast cancer. Every year, about 230,000 woman and men in the United States are diagnosed with the disease, and more than 40,000 die as a result of it, according to the American Cancer Society.

Part of the problem, says Mark Goldstein, founder, chairman and senior scientist at MammaCare, is that exams are often cursory and erratic. "Standardizing exams is vitally important," he says.

MammaCare is attempting to remedy the situation. The company, which developed quality standards for performing Clinical Breast Examinations (CBE) and Breast Self Examinations (BSE) and has grant support from the National Cancer Institute and National Science Foundation, uses a technique that circumvents X-Rays and other scanning technology.

"We have developed tactilely accurate breast exam models," Goldstein explains. "A person who is properly trained can use a finger to detect lesions as small as three millimeters." The training process occurs on a simulated breast that is equipped with sensors to immediately measure the health care provider's performance.

The biggest challenge for MammaCare was routing and managing all the data effectively via software and hardware. As a result, the company turned to consulting and IT services firm Capgemini to construct a cloud-based platform that would allow the organization to deliver standardized information about techniques and best practices to health care providers and the public.

The system also sends data about results back to MammaCare for analysis. Practitioners can view results immediately.

In order to build out the infrastructure required for clinical classrooms, MammaCare turned to a Capgemini Orchestration Management Platform End to End (COMPLETE), which is powered by Amazon Web Services (AWS). The cloud infrastructure enables global reach and connects to practicing clinicians and colleges of nursing and medicine around the world.

The infrastructure is elastic, operates in real time and expands automatically with demand. This eliminates the need for MammaCare to operate any internal IT infrastructure.

Capgemini was able to get the organization's IT infrastructure operational within the cloud in only days. The system can expand to 50,000 cores and approximately 10,000 users. It has malware protection in place, and Capgemini handles all patches and upgrades within the cloud environment.

Previously, MammaCare operated a standalone Moodle PHP SQL open-source database. Capgemini plugged the entire environment into the cloud. Colleges and other institutions tying into the system via proprietary learning platforms do not require any adjustments.

The bottom line? MammaCare is now able to expand its footprint and share its learning resources more widely. In fact, Goldstein says the organizations plans to train more than 10,000 practitioners over the next few years. Typically, a practitioner can conduct between 20 and 30 exams each day.

"We want to eliminate false alarms and detect all the cancers that are a real threat," he concludes.