Big data goes to the dogs

Normally when we tell you about the increasing power of big data we talk about how big data can help companies mine huge amounts of information to quickly find nuggets of insight that can boost their business. But there’s also a human side of big data. And a canine one as well.

Wednesday on the Windows Embedded blog, Valerie Olague relates how big data led to a new immunotherapy treatment that stands to keep her dog Charlie Brown (pictured above) around for years to come. Charlie has canine melanoma, and without the treatment his chances of dying within six months were up to 50 percent, according to the dog’s veterinarian. With the treatment, the chance is reduced to 2 percent.

“Treatments like this are made possible because of our ability to process and understand big data,” Olague says. “Through the study of both human and canine sequencing (the first canine draft was published in 2004), researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Merial and The Animal Medical Center of New York formulated the vaccine that Charlie Brown is now receiving.”

Can the same approach benefit humans? The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2013, there will be approximately 77,000 new cases of melanoma in the United States alone. New research is providing promising results in using canine therapies with humans. Olague notes that three of her friends are currently under care for melanoma identification and removal. The benefits they could receive from this therapy might eliminate a lifetime of skin checks and surgical removals, and possibly save their lives.

Read the rest of the story on the Windows Embedded Blog.

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Steve Clarke
Microsoft News Center Staff