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Many people believe big data is just a hype. It is the cool new fad that will last a few years and then plateau. Some even believe that Big Data has reached its limit, it is worn out and useless.

I beg to differ.

To understand how important Big Data is we need to first explain what Big Data is, in the simplest form.

Data = Information

Big Data = Information on a very large scale or A LOT of INFORMATION.

Now, Data doesn’t mean much if you cant understand it. If someone gave you a paper with a bunch of numbers on it, you would think “what the heck is this?”, but if someone then explained to you that those numbers represent the statistics on cancer in the US. Well then, this paper would no longer be meaningless numbers but valuable insight into the patients who survived and what medications they were taking.

According to the surveillance research conducted by the American Cancer Society, it is predicted that 1,658,370 Americans will be diagnosed with cancer in 2015. This leads me to believe that there could not possibly be one American who doesn’t know someone affected by cancer. This is a Big problem.

With every problem comes an opportunity to find a solution. This is where Big Data steps in, Gaurdant Health is using Big Data to aid in cancer research. They have created a blood screening product called Gaurdant360. This product is revolutionizing cancer research by collecting patient data in a much more efficient and cost effective way.

The only way to access genomic information about a tumor is to do a very painful and expensive biopsy, but now with the Gaurdant360 we can simply collect blood samples from patients and have them screened for genetic tissue unique to tumors. Through this technology researchers around the world can more easily access a vast amount of patient data and learn more about the patterns of cancer and how to combat it.

The more information researchers have access to, the higher the likelihood of discovering a cure.

Now, if the majority of the population still feels that Big Data is useless and that  “the internet of things” is more important, then so be it. But I am rooting for people to continue to invest in information, invest in knowledge and research, not a car that drives itself.

 

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