Solutions

Essential scientific, clinical, and demographic data is fed to a nationwide consortium of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia researchers through a system of web–based databases incorporating key FileMaker Pro components

CLL Research Consortium

On the leading edge of research into the treatment of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia, the Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) Research Consortium — based at the Rebecca and John Moores UCSD Cancer Center, works to collect and correlate information on every aspect of the etiology and treatment of this chronic disease. About 75 researchers, clinicians and physicians around the United States participate in the Consortium, sharing data and working toward improved treatment and ultimately toward a cure. FileMaker Pro databases keep much of this vital information organized and within easy reach of geographically distributed research sites.

Overview

  • A nationwide organization of clinical research facilities gathering and interpreting translational research data relating to Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
  • Based in La Jolla, CA
  • Approximately 75 researchers

Industry

  • Healthcare/Medical Services
  • Higher Education

FileMaker Pro is a cost–effective decision for us in that overall cost of ownership. Scoping out the entire project, most people will find that FileMaker Pro is definitely the right solution.

— Andrew Greaves, Director of Biomedical Informatics, CLL Research Consortium

Business Challenge

The eight sites that make up the consortium are scattered across the US, from east to west. "We're getting pieces of information from everywhere," comments Andrew Greaves, the Director of Biomedical Informatics for the Consortium. "We have geneticists, immunologists, pharmacologists, biochemists, and clinicians, all of them working on curing Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia."

All of that information needs to be readily accessible to research staff, and FileMaker Pro plays a vital role in that process. 70 percent of the information system is available to users over the web, with the remaining 30 percent in local client applications.

Successful Solution

The Consortium operates a wide assortment of FileMaker Pro databases. "We use what we call 'relational data–marts,' with backend data warehouses driving the data–marts", Andrew explains. "These 'warehouses' contain all of our data points, and these currently filter back to our MySQL server which actually stores our large dataset. We're currently testing the backend data warehouse in FileMaker Pro 7 to see if the speed is comparable, and if so we'll make the switch. So far, it's in the right neighborhood."

The research data stored in the system includes clinical data, genetic and molecular analysis, hematological studies, and detailed demographic data on each patient. "Our data is stored in a sort of push–pull situation," says Andrew. "The system pushes data back and forth to the data marts, which are relational web fronts that we use to deploy over the web. These will pull data from the warehouse in response to queries, or if new data is being submitted, the web fronts will push the information back down to the data warehouses. This allows us to do a lot of things that a standard relational model doesn't allow." The data warehouses contain hundreds of thousands of individual records.

FileMaker Pro 7 and FileMaker Pro Server Advanced offer us tools that make it so much easier to use XML and XSLT to transform the data into whatever we need. I can explain what I need to my staff, and they can go in and build it.

— Andrew Greaves, Director of Biomedical Informatics, CLL Research Consortium

Customer Benefits

"I believe we have the largest collection of CLL tissue samples in North America," Andrew observes. "This is a primary repository of extremely valuable clinical data and associated tissue samples." And the use of FileMaker Pro makes it much easier for this information to be rapidly shared across the Consortium's members. "Somebody can say 'I'm looking for a patient who has some mutation,' any topic that we collect, and we can isolate those samples and ship them," continues Andrew. "They do the science and send us the results, and that goes back into the data bank."

The initial FileMaker Pro application is expected to become even more valuable once migration to FileMaker Pro 7 is complete. "FileMaker Pro 7 and FileMaker Pro Server Advanced offer us tools that make it so much easier to use XML and XSLT to transform the data into whatever form we need. I can explain what I need to my staff, and they can go in and build it."

Another advantage with FileMaker Pro 7 is the low cost of ownership. "For universities and academic institutions, FileMaker Pro really is an incredible deal," Andrew declares. "And when you look at other programs, FileMaker Pro is a cost–effective decision for us in that overall cost of ownership. Scoping out the entire project, most people will find that FileMaker Pro is definitely the right solution."

For FileMaker:

Kevin Mallon
Public Relations Manager
FileMaker Inc.
408-987-7227
kevin_mallon@filemaker.com
http://www.filemaker.com