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Tech is Essential in the Fight to Cure Cancer

Read what Dr. David Delaney, SAP Chief Medical Officer NA, and Bonnie J. Addario, Founder and Chair of the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation, have to say about technology's important role in the Cancer Moonshot.

Bonnie J. Addario, Founder and Chair of the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation

When Bonnie J. Addario was suddenly diagnosed with stage 3B lung cancer, her world was rocked. And when the doctors at a prestigious academic hospital told her that there was no hope for her case, she refused to settle.

Bonnie sought second opinions until one oncologist proposed a treatment therapy... and it worked.

She beat cancer and has since dedicated her life to helping others fight the same battle.

Eleven years later, Bonnie, along with her husband Tony, run two not-for-profit foundations purposed to raise funds and research for personalized cures for cancer as well as provide support and advocacy for all cancer patients.

Don't Guess. Test.

In recent years, there's been a shift in the way cancer is perceived. Instead of categorizing cancer based on the organ it affects, healthcare personnel are now categorizing cancer based on DNA mutations or markers. Not all instances of cancer have a uniquely identifiable mutation, but many do, and the amount of information about them is constantly growing.

With cancer tumor DNA analysis, doctors can compare a patient's healthy DNA cell with that patient's cancer DNA cell to determine the point of cancer mutation. From there, healthcare personnel can determine if a targeted treatment exists for that particular mutation.

However, 80 percent of all cancer patients are treated in community hospitals where personalized medicine is not usually a routine form of practice. This is why it's imperative for patients to find an expert in their type of cancer. These experts, like the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation, can brief the patient on the right questions to ask doctors to ensure the use of cutting edge care.

SAP is dedicated to the Fight for Better Treatment

The price of DNA analysis is steadily decreasing. However, it's still pretty expensive. The range starts at about $1,500. Through the Corporate Oncology Program for Employees (COPE), SAP offers its employees free access to cancer tumor sequencing, analysis, and interpretation. The solution, called Molecular Health Guide™, runs on the SAP HANA platform, and it helps physicians interpret genetic changes and select personalized treatment options based on efficacy and safety. SAP is the first employer to ever offer COPE as part of its benefits package. COPE is live in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Germany.

"Without Technology, the Cancer Moonshot Will Not Work" -Bonnie J. Addario

Today, information from millions of patient electronic medical records (EMRs) is stashed in dusty hard drives and neglected. As Dr. David Delaney, Chief Medical Officer SAP Americas, explained in a recent panel discussion, SAP is leveraging high speed technology like SAP HANA to access all of the data within these EMRs and bring it to the point of care, facilitating more informed and data-driven treatment decisions.

Currently, only 3 percent of cancer patients are enrolled in clinical trials, meaning 97 percent of patient data is unavailable and overlooked.

With technology like SAP HANA, healthcare experts can comprehend all of the data that's underutilized in healthcare, bucketing diverse sets of patients based on ethnicity, gender, age, genome mutation, common health issues, environmental influences, and more.

With the ability to form these micro-bucket categorizations of patients, physicians can more accurately examine trends and bring this data to the point of care.

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This story originally appeared on SCN in SAP Business Trends.