Cloud Storage Now Being Harnessed by Cancer Researchers

It seems like every other day, there is yet another announcement being made in some part of the world regarding cloud technology and how it is helping to do something amazing. Consumers are already embracing cloud storage and accessing it daily, thanks to a huge range of different services from CX Storage to SOS Online and plenty of other options. We know businesses are taking advantage of the cloud, too, and that it is helping in important markets such as health care. Yet, there’s more happening than just these things.

In fact, you might just be shocked at how cloud storage is being used to save lives.

Researchers on Quest to Cure Cancer Using Cloud Storage

That’s right, cloud storage solutions are actually being used for one of the world’s most important pursuits: finding a cure for cancer. According to an article from Susan D. Hall on Fierce Health IT, researchers at world famous Johns Hopkins University are now tapping into the power of cloud storage to protect their findings. While there are definitely a lot of important reasons for having cloud storage services, no one can argue that this is one of the most noble reasons to use this technology talked about in the media so far.

The researchers are storing a huge number of cell samples in the cloud and using these in their efforts to find treatments for those suffering from cancer. The hope is that their research will give doctors better information on how the disease can be treated and, in the process, save lives. A $3.75 million grant provided by the National Cancer Institute will make the work possible over the next half a decade. Scientists specializing in cancer will work closely with engineers to build this cell sample database that includes samples taken using the high thoroughput cell phenotyping process. That data will then be kept in storage on location at the Los Alamos National Laboratory under highly secure conditions. From there, it will eventually become accessible via the cloud to physicians who can use this data to make better, more informed decisions.

As the director of Johns Hopkins Physical Science-Ontology Center, Denis Wirtz, told the press:

The long-range goal is to make this data available through the Internet to physicians who are diagnosing and treating cancer patients around the world.

In this respect, the project will be one that has a global impact and could save an untold number of lives.

Life Saving Data Stored Safely in the Cloud

Medical professionals who have access to the data stored through this project will have a lot to work with – much more than ever imagined. Not only will there be thousands of cell samples from a wide variety of patients, there will be a great deal of detail that is offered along with the images of those samples. While patient privacy is being protected, details make the difference when treating cancer and the age, gender and other details about the person the cell images were taken from will be included to help doctors in treating cancer stricken patients.

Wirtz explains:

We use scanning microscopy to take pictures of the size and shape of cancer cells. We also extract information about what is happening inside the cells and at the genetic level. We make notes of the age and gender of the patient and any treatment received. Looked at as a whole, this information can help us identify a ‘signature’ for a certain type of cancer. That gives us a better idea of how it spreads and how it responds to certain drugs.

What scientists and doctors know now is that not all cancer, even if it is of the same type, acts the same way. In one person it may spread ravenously while in another it proceeds slowly. Pharmaceutical drugs, too, do not have identical effects from one person to the next. This is why the database is needed so that doctors can learn how those who have come before them went about treating certain cancers and what the results they got were. All of these details can add up to make a far more effective treatment for cancer sufferers.

Cloud Technology Just Keeps Getting More Vital

It’s certainly exciting to see just how much good cloud storage solutions are doing now. This is just one project to help with one kind of disease so it’s easy to imagine how much still remains to be unveiled in the coming years. Cloud storage is definitely an impressive technology with a potential to do many, many good things. Saving lives might be a lofty goal, but it goes to show how incredible the technology we have access to today really is.

Perhaps you’ve put cloud storage to work to do something amazing, too? We would love to hear how you’re using it and encourage you to leave a comment below. We’d also like to answer any questions you have so we welcome those to be left as comments, too. And please don’t forget to check out our best cloud storage awards.

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