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NetApp is helping Children’s Cancer Institute revolutionize paediatric cancer research

Data-centric solutions from NetApp are speeding up research and treatment for young cancer patients. Managing Director Matthew Hurford shares more about the groundbreaking partnership with Children’s Cancer Institute.

NetApp, a data-centric software company, has forged a transformative partnership with Children’s Cancer Institute (CCI) in the fight against childhood cancer.

The five-year collaboration transcends corporate alliances, manifesting as a heartfelt commitment to make a difference in the lives of young cancer patients. Additionally, NetApp’s Managing Director, Matthew Hurford, serves as an ambassador for the CEO Dare to Cure fundraising initiative, solidifying the company’s dedication to the cause.

The partnership between NetApp and CCI has evolved over the past half-decade from a traditional customer-supplier relationship into a dynamic collaboration. It was a journey that began with CCI purchasing NetApp’s data services and storage products, which saw a turning point when the uniqueness of CCI’s mission and vision became apparent.

“The relationship goes back around five years. It started off as any other business relationship does, with the customer buying some of our data services and storage products,” Hurford tells The CEO Magazine.

Realizing that CCI was on a mission to eliminate childhood cancer in Australia, NetApp wanted to be part of the journey. “But when talking to the customer, we quickly understood that they were doing something very different with our products.”

Accelerating research and development

NetApp’s advanced data storage and management solutions are instrumental in CCI’s groundbreaking pediatric cancer research and treatment. The technology enables CCI to efficiently store, manage and access crucial research data.

The company’s contribution to CCI goes beyond the standard roles of a supplier and a customer, embodying a profound partnership based on the shared vision of combating the disease. Its commitment to efficiency allows CCI researchers to concentrate their expertise on finding innovative treatments and cures for childhood cancer.

More than just streamlining data management, the technology works to simplify the lives of researchers. “We want to make sure that the researchers don’t need to be concerned about data storage or having to manage IT architectures,” Hurford says. “We want them to be able to do their jobs as seamlessly and quickly as possible.”

The software company’s role in the collaboration is not limited to providing technology; it is also about revolutionizing the way research is conducted.

The impact of NetApp’s technology can be measured in terms of speed, integration and simplicity. Research in the medical field often involves extensive data sharing and collaboration across the globe, which NetApp’s technology has made seamless and swift.

It has enabled CCI to collaborate with international organizations, such as St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in the United States, thereby expanding their DNA sample pool. This, in turn, facilitates more personalized treatments for children not only in Australia but in other parts of the world as well.

By streamlining the integration of various data sources, NetApp also ensures invaluable efficiency in the race to find better treatments and cures. “Things that would have taken days and weeks to get done – the integration of data sources, pulling various disparate information pools together – now takes minutes,” Hurford says.

With the burden of managing complex IT architectures and data storage is lifted from their shoulders, this technology allows researchers to focus on what they do best – research – and paves the way for faster progress in more personalized treatments for young patients.

CEO Dare to Cure: A fundraising frontier


CEO Dare to Cure is a fundraising initiative that brings together prominent CEOs and business leaders from all over Australia to embrace daunting challenges in support of finding a cure for childhood cancer.

As an ambassador for the initiative, Hurford’s role extends beyond the boundaries of NetApp in raising awareness of CCI’s work, rallying support from partners and customers and broadening the impact of the partnership.

“CEO Dare to Cure is all about engaging executives, getting the companies that they work for involved and just trying to raise awareness,” he explains. “The events are not just about fundraising; they are a celebration of courage and determination and part of my responsibility is to broaden the awareness of what CCI are doing.”

For Hurford, it’s about supporting an organization that is solving problems and treating cancers that have been considered incurable for decades.

CCI’s pioneering techniques and research have the potential to influence the entire field of healthcare and impact the broader community as well – benefiting not just children but all people battling cancer.

The partnership between NetApp and CCI is a journey toward a shared goal of reducing childhood cancer fatality rates, with the former playing a role in making the research process more efficient, with every bit of increased efficiency contributing to saving lives.

As Hurford explains, “Every time we can be a little bit quicker, we can make things a little bit easier and that does play a small part in those outcomes.”

Apart from providing speed, integration and simplicity, NetApp’s contribution also involves listening to CCI to understand their future needs. This collaborative approach is essential as CCI continues to grow and build new centers to expand their services.

NetApp’s goal is not only to meet their technology demands but also to ensure cost efficiency, so that every dollar spent supports primary research efforts.

The partnership is a ray of hope in the battle against childhood cancer. NetApp’s technology, coupled with the dedication of CCI’s researchers, is making a significant impact on pediatric cancer research, with Hurford calling on the community, organizations and business leaders to join this noble cause.

Expanding the reach

On delving deeper into the impact of the NetApp-CCI partnership, it becomes apparent that it’s not limited to just one sector of society. The ripple effect of their collaboration extends its reach to benefit not only children but the broader community in facilitating the expansion of CCI’s services.

Initially focused on treating only the most severe cases of childhood cancer, they have opened their doors to every child diagnosed with cancer. This step signifies their commitment to making a difference in the lives of young cancer patients and also means that their need for IT infrastructure and technology support is becoming greater than ever.

Their pioneering techniques and research have the potential to influence the entire healthcare sector. The lessons learned in the quest to eliminate childhood cancer can be applied to treating cancer in patients of all ages.

NetApp stands at the forefront of meeting these evolving demands. Apart from providing the necessary technology, their role is about understanding the unique needs of CCI’s research and treatment processes.

Every moment saved, every data integration made seamless and every technological advancement brings CCI closer to their goal of better treatments and, ultimately, a cure.

The benefits extend beyond efficiency, fostering a sense of hope and contributing to innovative research. The partnership plays a pivotal role in enabling CCI to take giant strides in their quest for a cancer-free world.

The impact of NetApp’s technological support is felt not just within the walls of CCI, but throughout the field of health care. Their innovative approach to data management and IT infrastructure has set new standards in medical research.

“The fact that they can use the same data management services across different clouds – from object-based storage to fast storage, all available from one vendor – surprised CCI,” Hurford says.

By simplifying the complexities of data storage and management, NetApp allows researchers to concentrate on their work. This approach, characterized by its seamless integration, empowers CCI and other medical institutions to access, share and analyze crucial research data swiftly.

“We want to be seen as their data technology partner,” he says.

The road ahead

While the partnership between NetApp and the CCI has already achieved remarkable milestones, the road ahead is filled with promise and potential. The partnership is a commitment to the children and their families who face the harrowing battle against the disease.

Hurford encapsulates this spirit when he says, “My message here is let’s get behind this team of researchers who are doing something fundamentally different, who are solving problems and treating cancers that for decades have been classed as incurable.”

It’s a message about innovation, research and the relentless pursuit of a cancer-free future.

NetApp and CCI invite other companies in the technology sector and the Australian business landscape to join them in their mission. The three-year partnership is just the beginning, and the potential for collaboration and support is significant.

The cause unites communities, organizations and individuals, and the partnership stands as a symbol of hope for the children directly impacted by cancer as well as for society as a whole.

The approach taken by CCI, and fueled by NetApp’s technological support, is a testament to human ingenuity and compassion. It demonstrates what can be achieved when we refuse to accept the status quo and challenge the boundaries of medical research.

The CEO Dare to Cure fundraising events, with Hurford as an ambassador, are crucial frontiers that serve as a rallying point for the community. Calling upon executives, business leaders and organizations to embrace daring challenges for a noble cause, the events are not just about fundraising, but also a celebration of bravery and resilience.

Partnership is an invitation to join hands and be part of a movement that is rewriting the story of a fatal disease. It’s a call to action, an opportunity for everyone to do their part and, most importantly, to save lives.

Partners for ‘good’


NetApp’s partnership with CCI represents a pivotal chapter. The fusion of cutting-edge technology and unwavering commitment is ushering in a new era in pediatric cancer research.

“CCI is a small organization treating children, but one that will have a broader impact on everybody who gets diagnosed with cancer in the long run,” Hurford says.

The journey embarked upon by NetApp and CCI is one of inspiration and determination and a testament to the impact that technology can have when harnessed for a noble cause. With every advancement in data management and every stride in research, they come closer to the ultimate goal – a world where childhood cancer is a thing of the past.

As the partnership continues to evolve and adapt to the changing landscape of pediatric cancer research, the possibilities are boundless. The legacy of this collaboration is as much in the technological advancements it has brought as it is in the lives it has touched, the children it has saved and the collective strength it has harnessed.

Within the vast scope of human pursuits, childhood cancer stands as one of the most significant challenges. It’s a battle that requires not only scientific prowess but also dedication and the collective will of society.

NetApp’s partnership with CCI exemplifies what can be achieved when the private sector joins forces with a mission-driven organization.

As we navigate the complexities of modern healthcare, one truth remains constant – it’s not a question of ‘if’ but a matter of ‘when’. The journey to a world free of childhood cancer is well underway and with every new breakthrough, the destination draws closer.

NetApp’s tools, CCI’s knowledge and the community’s support are the driving forces propelling our world toward a future where children no longer fear the shadow of cancer and where every young life is given the chance to flourish.

It’s a future NetApp and CCI are collectively shaping, one partnership, one breakthrough and one act of support at a time – turning the ‘if’ into ‘when’.

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