AWS Public Sector Blog

How Children’s National Hospital uses the cloud to advance pediatric research and innovation

For more than 150 years, Children’s National Hospital has worked to bring health and well-being to children around the world. Volunteers opened the hospital in 1870 with 12 beds for children in the wake of the Civil War. Today, it is among the nation’s top 10 children’s hospitals and is transforming pediatric medicine for all children.

Recently, the hospital opened the Children’s National Research & Innovation Campus (CNRIC). Amazon Web Services (AWS) is pleased to help launch this one-of-a-kind hub for pediatric medical discovery, innovation and care. CNRIC researchers plan to use AWS to help predict, diagnose and treat childhood diseases more effectively; understand the impact of genes, environment and social factors on child health; develop targeted therapies; better understand developmental disabilities and other pediatric diseases, and more.

Representatives from AWS and Children’s National Hospital explore the new Research & Innovation Campus on September 7, 2021 in Washington, D.C.

Left to right: Dr. Eric Vilain, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Center for Genetic Medicine Research, CNRIC; Max Peterson, vice president of worldwide public sector at AWS; Phoebe Yang, general manager of nonprofit health at AWS; Mick Lerlop, senior account executive at AWS; Mihailo Kaplarevic, Ph.D., MBA, CISSP, chief research information officer at the Center for Genetic Medicine Research, CNRIC.

Using the cloud to improve health outcomes for children worldwide

For nearly a decade, Children’s National researchers have used AWS to help advance their groundbreaking research. Here are a few of the most innovative ways Children’s National is using the cloud to transform pediatric medicine:

  • To identify gene targets for antiviral therapy: Children’s National has used the cloud to help study how viruses interact with the functions of many genes before and after infection. Last year, the medical center reanalyzed public genetic screening datasets to identify genes that serve as potential targets of broad antiviral activity including COVID-19. Researchers within the hospital’s Center for Genetic Medicine Research used AWS technology to process and analyze huge amounts of data sets, in addition to creating an integrated database in the cloud, so that research results could be freely accessed around the world. AWS technology reduced the time to process screening data from months to days.
  • To predict potential drugs for COVID-19 treatment: All viruses need to interact with host factors in their life cycle. Children’s National is using AWS to identify critical host factors from a joint analysis of multiple SARS-COV-2 screens. Based on that analysis, researchers will use machine learning to predict potential drugs from over 4,000 candidates that interact with the human genes necessary for SARS-COV-2 infection.
  • To improve population health with data science: Children’s National worked with Cerner and AWS to build HealtheDataLab, a cloud-based data lake and data science platform, that allows data scientists and researchers to analyze large amounts of population health data and derive actionable insights, such as:
    • Investigating the longitudinal relationship between changing food environments and weight trajectories of children in the District of Columbia.
    • Quantifying the influence of preexisting pediatric cardiovascular conditions on the risk of developing severe Covid symptoms.
    • Building of study-specific data marts integrated with electronic health records and external research data that support a diverse research portfolio.

Get involved

AWS is pleased to be the lead sponsor of Race for Every Child—Children’s National’s largest, community-based fundraising event—happening Saturday, October 16.

By signing up to participate virtually, you can help Children’s National continue to offer world-class care and hope for cures for the most challenging childhood diseases. Learn more and register for Race for Every Child here.

Visit the Children’s National homepage to learn more.

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