‘Be The Match’ Uses Data of 15 Million Members to Save Lives



By Dave Nesvisky, Executive Director, Healthcare, NetApp

Every year about 10,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with diseases for which a transplant is the best hope for a cure. For those waiting for a transplant, life hangs in the balance and every moment is precious. Be The Match® is an organization that connects patients, doctors, donors and researchers to the resources they need to successfully close the loop on a transplant.

The organization faced a major IT challenge—data growth and management—and needed to replace aging legacy storage with a modern, lifesaving data management foundation.

Millions of Possibilities, Just One Match
Be The Match, operated by the nonprofit National Marrow Donor Program, maintains the largest and most diverse registry list of potential marrow and cord blood donors in the world. In addition, it has more than 15 million members and 400,000 umbilical cord blood units worldwide.

Every donor added to the registry comes with a high-resolution DNA test. The tests include a wealth of data that is scanned and hopefully matched, through an application named Traxis, to someone waiting for a lifesaving transplant. Traxis’ sophisticated matching algorithm is 100 million times more complex than blood typing programs. With so much complexity and data, and with so many lives at stake, a nimble and speedy data management solution is critical.

Saving More Than Money
Be The Match worked with NetApp to build a comprehensive data management solution that enabled:

  • Complex analytics to run 10 times more concurrent Traxis searches than legacy storage;
  • The capability to provision new storage on-demand (vs. weeks or months), meaning critical processes never run out of capacity;
  • A 75 percent improvement in disaster recovery time, enabling critical applications to be back online within minutes.

Overall, the NetApp unified storage platform delivered faster integration of data outcomes, accelerated the evolution of Traxis, enhanced patient-donor matches and most importantly, improved survival and cure rates.

Be a Lifesaver
To save a life, the Be The Match database needs as diverse a pool of records as possible. Learn how you can sign up and help save a life by visiting http://www.bethematch.org. Registration is easy, and most donations don’t involve surgery.