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Author's profile photo Werner Eberhardt

A revolution in cancer treatment powered by SAP

In my lifetime I am proud to be part of a movement where better, personalized treatment for cancer is becoming a reality.  Every single patient is different once we undertake the effort to analyze the disease at the level of genome mutations in cancer cells. Treatment strategies however are still  largely generic with suboptimal results in the majority of cases. We are working on solutions to even double the treatments’ success rates.

For the last two years we have been working closely with the NCT Nationales Centrum für Tumorerkrankungen Heidelberg. The NCT is a leading cancer research and treatment facility with 10.000 new patients every year.  With the goal to accelerate research and provide better treatment options to patients, SAP and NCT developed the Medical Research Insights solution.  It enables NCT staff to analyze patient data in real-time, using biomarkers as filters, build patient cohorts with similar treatment histories and compare outcomes across data sets previously being inaccessible in data silos.

Recently, SAP’s CEO Bill McDermott toured the NCT facility to witness the commitment NCT has to fighting cancer.  Bill has taken it to heart to take the power of SAP’s technology and connect this with the leading cancer groups across the world including the NCT, American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and MKI to help improve people’s lives.

I had the pleasure of participating in the tour and to be in the presence of leaders in the field of oncology and technology…it was inspiring to say the least!


The tour concluded at NCT’s sequencing building.  This building houses state-of-the art genome sequencing machines. This next generation sequencing technology is only available in a handful of cancer research facilities in the world, this is proof that NCT is a leader in cancer research and giving the best care and treatment for its patients. The SAP founder Dietmar Hopp is supporting this effort with his foundation as announced mid of last year. The sequencers are able to read our genetic code consisting of 20,000 DNA snippets for a few thousand dollars, compared to billions of dollars at the time the first human genome was sequenced.  Our genome alignment software running on SAP HANA re-combines the snippets four times faster than the typically used software to the full combined DNA set consisting of three billion base pairs in just 2.7 hours.  

Technology is reshaping medicine, in a way that the entire cycle of care is focused on better outcomes for patients. I am proud to be part of this critical turning point in medical history.

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      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Thanks for sharing Werner, what a terrific story. It really is awe-inspiring to learn about the impact that SAP technology can have on critically important areas like cancer research. And gratifying as well to see how Bill has further recognized and embraced this.

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Thx Werner. Great post.

      This goes to show that technology is less about driving reports but more about reshaping the world we live in through precise use of vast information sets.  Huge breakthrough for medicine, from disease research and pharma to medical device design.