Roswell Park Cancer Institute Improves Leukemia Diagnostics with Sampleminded’s Scientific Data Management

The mission of Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) is to understand, prevent, and cure cancer through partnerships with research scientists and practicing clinicians. A key element of that mission is to provide accurate diagnostics to each patient.

In RCPI’s fight against liquid tumors like B cell and myeloid leukemia, diagnosis is assisted using flow cytometry, a testing process using fluorescent monoclonal antibodies, to analyze patient samples. The RPCI team knew that this analysis would not only improve diagnostics, but also provide an abundance of data, presenting a challenge: how would they effectively collect, manage, and use this data?

Their existing data management method, consisting of individual Excel spreadsheets for each patient sample, was already strained managing information on the over 35,000 patients in their clinical studies. The operations of the flow cytometry lab created new complexities as well: different technicians in the lab at different times led to inconsistencies in something as simple as the naming of samples. The team knew that standardization would be a critical requirement for any new system to eliminate variance in the data set, which could lead to the team running the same test on the same sample without realizing it. Another issue was created by the data system silos between the Excel files and the hospital’s existing software system, Cerner, leaving the team unable to query across data sets and easily integrate flow cytometry with molecular, cytogenetic, and histopathology results all required for accurate 21st century diagnoses.

RPCI’s solution was to find a partner to provide a standardized data warehouse structure that could integrate with their existing hospital software. Knowing Sampleminded’s excellent reputation for data management and integrity results, their choice was clear.

Utilizing an in-depth consultative approach, Sampleminded met with the RPCI team to understand the science behind, and process for, their flow cytometry. Once they understood the nature of the data, Sampleminded built a model that extracted the information out of RPCI’s Excel spreadsheets into a relational database that integrated with Cerner. In addition, they implemented standardized naming conventions and introduced controlled vocabulary to provide a more effective reporting mechanism.

After the implementation of Sampleminded’s solution, RPCI could immediately query across their whole patient base, comparing by data set. The system also made it easy for the team to identify data inconsistencies and correct them. As a result, Sampleminded’s data management solution led to a significant improvement of RPCI’s data collection, diagnostics, and reporting.

“Not only have we been able to compare data sets and process them with a measurable improvement in our diagnostic accuracy,” said Dr. Paul Wallace, RPCI “Sampleminded provided configurations that adjust as the dynamics of flow cytometry change. We now have a much better management system for our Big Data and analysis. By partnering with Sampleminded, we are getting results that are driving the change in science from reactive medicine to predictive medicine.”