NetApp | How the Largest Collection of Genomes Is Transforming Medical Care

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How the Largest Collection of Genomes Is Transforming Medical Care

Wuxi NextCODE CIO ushers in the era of data-driven precision medicine

Oct 22, 2018


  • Enabling healthcare organizations to leverage genome analysis to transform medical care
  • Advancing data-driven medicine with the only data architecture designed to optimize the use of genomic data
  • Making the genome platform the standard for organizing, mining, and sharing large-sequence dataset

Have you ever wondered why different treatment and prevention plans work for some patients but not for others? Why there is no panacea when it comes to medicine? It’s because small differences, including genes, environment, and lifestyle make each of us unique and demand an individualized, precise approach to medicine. Until recently, this kind of treatment was out of reach for most people, prohibitively expensive, and nearly impossible to accomplish at scale.

With the world’s largest collection of human genome sequences, the team at WuXi NextCODE is working on these issues. The company is at the forefront of data-driven precision medicine, enabling healthcare organizations on four continents to unlock the power of the genome to transform medical care.

This is no small task. According to Rob Brainin, the CEO of WuXi NextCODE, “It was only 15 years ago that the first whole human genome was sequenced. It took two decades and cost almost $3 billion to do. The cost has come down radically to under a $1,000 and a few days, but that's generated a tsunami of data.” And even though all humans share the same DNA, the sequencing of it is 100% unique to the individual. If you and a friend were to compare your DNA, you would find about 5 million differences.

“The challenge is to take a dataset of 5 million and figure out the differences or mutations that are important — which ones are the causes of rare diseases, chronic conditions, and cancers, and how to individualize patient treatment,” Dr. Hakon Gudbjartsson, CIO of WuXi NextCODE explained.

At the heart of the WuXi NextCODE platform is the genomic relational database, the only data architecture designed to optimize the use of massive genomic data. By leveraging NetApp® Cloud Data Services, the genome platform makes it possible to integrate data on the fly to deliver unprecedented computational efficiency.

“The benchmark for analyzing genomic data is accessing it from data from 100,000 individuals,” Dr. Gudbjartsson said. “We always had timeouts or file failures. But when we tested this using the NetApp Cloud Volumes Service, it actually finished in less than an hour. That was a great breakthrough for us.”

Each year, 1.6 million people are diagnosed with cancer. One in three adults worldwide suffers from multiple chronic conditions. And there are approximately 7,000 rare diseases that affect 300 million people globally. The answer to treating disease is in our genes, and WuXi NextCODE is a crucial part of the data-driven precision medicine equation. Its architecture underpins the preeminent genomics efforts on four continents and is the emerging global standard for organizing, mining, and sharing large-sequence datasets that are transforming medical care today.

Learn more about NetApp Cloud Volumes Service

WuXi NextCODE is a genomic information company using sequence data to improve health for people around the world.



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