At the hospital's Center for Pediatric Genomic Medicine, physicians collaborate with clinical laboratory scientists, molecular geneticists, bioinformaticians and software engineers to sequence and analyze rare inherited diseases. Recognized as a paediatric genomics pioneer, Children's Mercy previously set the standard for decoding a genome in about two days - a process that traditionally took six weeks or longer. The hospital now is applying advanced compute, DDN storage and accelerated sequencing technologies to reach its goal of completing the process and delivering results to physicians in 26 hours.
According to Shane Corder, HPC systems engineer, Center for Pediatric Genomic Medicine at Children's Mercy, rapid genome sequencing can be the key to diagnosing critically ill patients and prescribing viable treatments faster and more effectively. "Genomic sequencing, coupled with high-performance computing and DDN storage, gives us a whole new look at medicine by quickly shedding light on DNA variations that can explain a child's condition", he explained. "Our focus on developing clinical tests for next-generation medical treatments improves outcomes for patients at Children's Mercy and around the world."
In particular, time is of the essence when decoding genomes of seriously ill children to find genetic causes of their illnesses and end typically arduous and often painful diagnostic journeys. Dealing with massive amounts of data is exceedingly difficult as a person's DNA has more than 6.4 million bases, encompassing 22,000 genes that code for 100,000 proteins. To remove bottlenecks in its clinical and research environments, Children's Mercy sought a powerful storage solution to address the constant data deluge while enabling scientists to quickly analyze data and produce meaningful genome testing results.
With DDN's high-performance GRIDScaler platform, Children's Mercy can scale up or out to handle massive data ingest, processing, storage and collaboration. Not only does DDN deliver performance and scalability unmatched by traditional scale-out, enterprise NAS architectures, the GS7K meets the Center's imposing requirements for a high-density, cost-effective solution.
Thanks to DDN, Children's Mercy has dramatically improved its ability to align, analyze and discover data as the storage platform seamlessly supports the Center's Nordic suite of software tools. For example, the time to perform the Centers well-known STAT-Seq rapid genome test has been reduced by about 43 percent, or from 2.5 to 1.75 hours. Ingest on Children's Mercy's Illumina sequencers also has increased substantially. Together, these performance improvements will enable Children's Mercy to break the time barrier for decoding a full genome.
"We're trying hard to break the 48-hour window required for the crucial STAT-Seq test by applying advanced compute, storage and accelerated sequencing technologies", Shane Corder stated. "The goal is to complete the entire process from enrollment to delivering a final report to the physician in 26 hours." Additionally, DDN's storage will be able to seamlessly support the Center's planned deployment of the Edico DRAGEN Bio-IT processor, which is an FPGA-based genomic analysis acceleration technique.