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Sparkle partners with Princess Máxima Center for pediatric oncology to accelerate research using Google Cloud technology

10/06/2022 - 04:20 PM

Princess Máxima Center for pediatric oncology, the biggest childhood cancer center in Europe, will leverage Google Cloud’s technology to execute research into childhood cancer mutations with the aim of gaining a comprehensive picture of possible tumor-specific mutations which will hopefully pave the way to a state-of-the-art data resource for researchers worldwide. The project was awarded to Sparkle within the European tender of the Open Clouds for Research Environments (OCRE) and has been endowed with a grant of close to half a million euros to make this transition possible. As Google Cloud integrator and in close collaboration with Google Cloud partner Omnigen, Sparkle will help implement the platform over the next two years.

Childhood cancer is a common cause of death by disease in children. By investigating genetic abnormalities in childhood cancer genomes, scientists can gain a better understanding of tumor development or progression. Thanks to Google Cloud technology - featuring scalability, speed, data security and a unique state-of-the-art analysis framework - the two-year project, starting in October this year, has three research aims:

·        Detecting complex mutations and interpret its impact on tumor development

·        Mapping mutations in non-coding DNA and its impact on nearby coding DNA

·        Providing a secure source of childhood cancer genomics data that may be reusable for other researchers.

We are very proud to participate with our partners in this project putting digital technologies at the service of scientific research”, says Maria Teresa Ferrigno, EVP Enterprise at Sparkle. “With this project we confirm our commitment, through the OCRE Cloud Framework, to offer the best cloud solutions to the European education and research sector by reducing the cost and complexity of the transition to the cloud.

With the cloud we can perform large-scale re-analysis with more genome data and at a higher speed. Where an analysis on a local compute cluster could take about six months, using the cloud we could do it in a few weeks”, Dr. Patrick Kemmeren, leading the research group, says. “It can also stimulate collaboration among researchers: by having lots of standardized data available in the cloud, we can more easily give access to data to collaborators in a secure, controlled way for them to perform their analyses. As childhood cancers are rare, having access to this type of data is essential to accelerate research and eventually develop targeted therapies.

Paul van Dijk, Tech Lead Research IT of the Princess Máxima Center, says: “Through this project we hope to lay the foundation for a well-designed Google Cloud environment for research in the Princess Máxima Center. This fits perfectly with the OCRE grant: to ease cloud adoption at the level of the individual researcher as well as at an institutional level.

Berry Kriesels, CEO and founder of Omnigen, says: “In a project such as this, we have the opportunity to demonstrate in-depth and at full scale the added societal value of cloud computing for scientific research and the aid it can have in understanding hard-to-solve challenges such as pediatric oncology.

We are proud that Google Cloud technology, best practices and expertise will contribute to the adoption and effectiveness of cloud services in research. By supporting the Princess Máxima Center, we will play a role in the creation of Comprehensive Childhood Cancer Commons and help to drive innovations in childhood cancer research, diagnostics and treatment”, says Erwin Angelier, Head of Public Sector, Netherlands, Google Cloud.


OCRE tender

The tender was put out by GÉANT, the pan-European network for the research and education community, to ease adoption of cloud services among research institutions.


About the Princess Máxima Center for pediatric oncology

When a child is seriously ill from cancer, only one thing matters: a cure. 

That is why at the Princess Máxima Center for pediatric oncology, we work together with passion, pushing the boundaries to improve survival and quality of life for children with cancer. Now, and in the long term. Because children have their entire lives ahead of them.

The Princess Máxima Center for pediatric oncology is no ordinary hospital but a research hospital, the biggest childhood cancer center in Europe. Here, more than 400 scientists and 900 healthcare professionals work closely with Dutch and international hospitals to find new treatments and new perspectives for a cure.

In this way, we offer children today the very best care, and take important steps toward improving survival for the children who are not yet cured.


About Sparkle

Sparkle is TIM Group’s Global Operator, first international service provider in Italy and among the top worldwide, with a proprietary backbone of more than 600,000 km of fiber spanning from Europe to Africa, the Americas and Asia. Sparkle is qualified by GÉANT as OCRE Cloud Framework provider and Google Cloud integrator in 27 European countries.


About Omnigen

Omnigen is a Netherlands-based Google Cloud partner for the Life Sciences and Health branch and as such serving top-tier academic institutions, biotech industry, pharmaceutical industry and health care institutes.


About Google Cloud

Google Cloud accelerates every organization's ability to digitally transform its business. We deliver enterprise-grade solutions that leverage Google's cutting-edge technology — all on the cleanest cloud in the industry. Customers in more than 200 countries and territories turn to Google Cloud as their trusted partner to enable growth and solve their most critical business problems.


Utrecht / Rome, 6 October 2022  


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