Working in collaboration with the cloud-based health technology company NantHealth, BlackBerry plans to launch a clinical browser on its Passport smartphone that will give doctors "unprecedented" access to cancer patients' genetic data. The NantOmics Cancer Genome Browser will be preloaded on some Passport devices and become available to physicians in early 2015.
Based in Waterloo, Ontario, NantHealth is part of NantWorks, a group of cloud-based healthcare companies that uses real-time machine learning to provide big-data-enabled medical information whenever its needed at the point of care. The organization was founded by Patrick Soon-Shiong, a physician who is also executive director of the UCLA Wireless Health Institute and Global Director for Cancer Services and Bioinformatics at Providence Health and Services.
Genetic Mapping for Cancer Treatment
According to BlackBerry, its Passport device provides an ideal delivery system for the NantOmics browser because it supports the full encryption needed to comply with HIPAA healthcare security requirements. Its large, high-resolution screen also provides a detailed view of genetic information for physicians treating cancer patients, the company said.
Profiled in a 60 Minutes segment this past weekend, Soon-Shiong has made headlines for his "unconventional" approaches toward treating cancer. As CBS noted, he is also "the richest man in Los Angeles, a doctor and entrepreneur who is worth an estimated $11 billion."
Soon-Shiong's unique cancer-fighting strategy involved classifying cancer by the characteristics of its genetic mutation, rather than by its physical location in the patient's body. As he said in the 60 Minutes segment, that might mean treating a breast cancer with a drug developed for a lung cancer if both exhibit the same genetic mutation.
Set to Debut at CES
"The proprietary NantOmics Cancer Genome Browser enables clinicians for the first time to investigate a tumor genome from the full three billion bases down to the single-base level in real-time, thanks to the power of the NantOmics supercomputing infrastructure," Soon-Shiong said. "This integrates with NantHealth's treatment recommendation engine, Eviti, to personalize treatment protocols to individual patients based on their genomic signature."
Set to be demonstrated during the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January, goal is to use technology to create a genetic map of each cancer tumor, with that information then used by the treating physician to deliver personalized care specific to that tumor's genetic markers. That's the kind of information that will be accessible via BlackBerry's Passport through the NantOmics browser.That platform will ensure that data accessible via the Passport is "fully secure end-to-end," according to BlackBerry.
"BlackBerry's partnership with NantHealth illustrates how the mobile security and collaboration technology we are known for can be reimagined to create revolutionary applications across a variety of industries," said John Chen, Executive Chairman and CEO of BlackBerry.