Verizon is collaborating with NantWorks on a new plan to use big data to aid cancer treatment, which could create a new type of specialty within the health care field.
Big data has a big role in
furthering cancer research and treatment. Verizon is working on a new
partnership with NantWorks to develop the Cancer Knowledge Action Network, a
cloud database that will help doctors improve cancer care.
semiconductors, supercomputers and advanced networks for health care, commerce
and digital entertainment.
The Cancer Knowledge Action
Network will allow doctors to research protocols for the treatment of specific
cancer conditions on mobile devices.
Verizon Chairman and CEO
Lowell McAdam announced the collaboration during his keynote address to the World
Health Care Congress
in Washington, D.C., on April 17.
The two companies will use
Verizon's 4G Long-Term Evolution (LTE) broadband network and cloud
infrastructure as the foundation for the project.
"The future of medicine
is digital and mobile," Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, founder and CEO of
NantWorks, said in a statement.
NantWorks and Verizon will
work on translating big data into information accessible for cancer treatment.
"Our goal is to turn
this data into actionable information at the point of care, enabling better
care through mobile devices in hospitals, clinics and homes," said
"We have a shared goal
to develop and scale connected IT solutions, and one of the ideas we're talking
about is using 'big data' to improve the treatment of cancer through a
comprehensive database called Cancer Knowledge Action Network," said
McAdam in his keynote.
Although plans are still
being finalized for the Cancer Knowledge Action Network, Verizon will
contribute technology from its platforms in security, identity management,
health information exchanges, cloud computing and mobility, Dr. Peter Tippett,
chief medical officer and vice president of Verizon's health care practice,
wrote in an email to eWEEK.
expertise in managing and analyzing genomic and cancer-related data will play a
role in the project, Tippett added.
Dell and IBM have also
recently announced big data projects involving cancer care. In November 2011,
Dell announced it would donate its cloud infrastructure for storing
data in pediatric cancer trials
. Meanwhile, last month, IBM said its Watson
supercomputer would be used to perform complex
analysis on Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center's large volumes of clinical
to allow doctors to form personalized treatment plans.
With disconnected health IT
systems hurting care rather than helping, the industry needs
"holistic" platforms to bring all the data together, McAdam
"In order to realize
the full disruptive potential of technology, we need holistic approaches to
solve these fundamental issues and deliver next-generation health care
experiences to consumers," said McAdam.
Verizon's deal with
NantWorks follows an agreement with Duke University, announced Oct. 5, 2011, to
health care technologies on mobile devices and in the cloud for commercial
The communications provider
also announced a partnership with Health Evolution Partners on Feb. 6 in which
firms the buyout company invests in will develop mobile
services that enable real-time care coordination.
At the World Health Care
Congress, McAdam discussed Verizon's strategy to focus on its cloud
architecture powered by 4G LTE and global IP networks. This architecture
enables telehealth services and remote medical monitoring.
In 2011, the company
combined its wireless and wireline health care platforms into a single
organization called Verizon Health Care Connected Solutions to streamline its
offerings in the health care vertical.
"Late last year, we
brought all our wireless and wireline health care solutions into a single
organization so that we can understand and approach this market in a more
integrated way," said McAdam.
As part of its strategy in
health care IT, Verizon will package its products for the health care vertical
specifically, rather than offer horizontal platforms separately, Kannan
Sreedhar, a managing principal in Verizon's health care practice, told eWEEK.
a vertical focus, clearly health care is the primary driver for us at this
point in time," said Sreedhar.
Verizon's also working on a pilot
video conferencing trial with health insurer WellPoint
to allow people with
chronic conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, to be monitored
remotely by a caregiver.
"Early results of these
telemedicine trials show that hospitalizations go down and the time between
hospitalizations goes up, thanks to these virtual consultations," said
Verizon will unveil new
health care services later this year to allow people with chronic diseases as
well as those seeking wellness and prevention to share vital data in the cloud,