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Everything in one place to fight cancer

Elfriede Kramer suffers from various types of life threatening cancers. Her doctor works around the clock to choose the proper diagnosis tailored to her individual case, because for patients like Elfriede, time matters.  In addition, Elfriede’s doctor always keeps her informed about the process because trust and open communication provide Elfriede confidence that her cancer will finally be defeated.

At NCT (National Center for Tumor Diseases) in Heidelberg, individually specialized cancer treatment is key to applying effective therapies and medicines on genome mutations in tumor cells. Our goal is to start treatment of cancer patients on day one by establishing a protocol that is tailored to their specific genetic profile. These modern diagnostics require mass genome analysis and fast consolidation of massive data volumes (up to 1,200 data fields per patient) from many different structured data sources, such as tumor documentation, medical records and clinical trials, but also unstructured data sources such as biomarker data extracted from patient evaluation letters, treatment guidelines, trial reports, medical publications and images, in a very short timeframe.


With our new solution, based on SAP HANA, designed during a Design Thinking workshop, medical scientists have access to fast, ad-hoc reporting capabilities for tailoring treatments to patient histories, attributes and survival rates. We can identify patterns, relationships and interdependencies that weren’t visible before at all. We can now access reports about treatment responses and view how patients reacted to chemotherapy, surgery, and home visits. This helps us to identify cancer types, to choose the right treatment, and to analyze current and upcoming clinical trials in real-time.  In addition, the new solution also helps us to find the right candidates for clinical studies.

Before SAP HANA, we only had bandwidth to include 5-10% of our patients in clinical validation studies. We intend to increase this number significantly by means of better characterizing cancer types and having instant transparency into ongoing trials. With SAP HANA, we can easily analyze data from cancer research together with data from similar cancer therapies, significantly increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of the entire process. The analytical capabilities enabled by SAP HANA provide our researchers a deeper understanding of the subject matter. This will facilitate decision finding for our therapists. Sometimes these analyses lead to new and innovative treatments to replace failing standard therapies.


We found that the new system based on SAP HANA is a great facilitation of our work. It allows access to all different data fields from the same level and safeguards the optimal level of information for each doctor at any time. With SAP HANA, our physicians are now able to analyze their data volume much faster in a qualitatively new way.

>> They are now able to see things they couldn’t see before. Waiting for reports, which limited their ability to do research based on clinical facts, is now a thing of the past. The result is a completely new user experience, which we call NCT DataThereHouse. <<

Because of the great insight provided by SAP HANA, cancer patients have new found strength to never give up.  Because people like Elfriede Kramer have insight into the past effectiveness of a treatment or access to new clinical trials, she has hope to keep fighting this nasty disease. 

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      Author's profile photo Rukhshaan Omar
      Rukhshaan Omar

      Vote for NCT's HANA Innovation Award entry on Everything in one place to fight cancer : View Idea