Best in class: Good Design Award Accolade goes to data analysis tool helping children with cancer

11 Sep 2023

A new digital platform developed for the Zero Childhood Cancer Program (ZERO)—Australia’s world-leading precision medicine program for kids with cancer— has won the prestigious ‘Best In Class’ for outstanding design and innovation at the Good Design Awards.

Designed by We Discover in collaboration with Children’s Cancer Institute and Secure Agility, ZeroDash—Accelerating Precision Medicine for Childhood Cancer has been recognised and rewarded for its impressive and signficant impact within the category of Service Design.

“ZeroDash is a ground-breaking medical data tool that will help doctors and scientists create better treatment plans for Australian children with cancer. This is an incredibly important piece of work with great potential for positive impact — congratulations on an outstanding piece of work,” the Good Design Awards Jury commented.

The collaboration and its award-winning product will be key to the ongoing success of ZERO. Jointly led by Children’s Cancer Institute and the Kids Cancer Centre at Sydney Children’s Hospital and involving every children’s hospital in Australia, ZERO began as a program exclusively for children with high-risk cancers. Recently the program began expanding to include other children, and by the end of 2023, will become available to every 0–18-year-old diagnosed with cancer in Australia.    

Each child participating in ZERO has their cancer analysed at a molecular level, with the aim of identifying genetic alterations that could be driving the cancer’s growth. The results of this detailed analysis have the potential to inform many aspects of the child’s care, from diagnosis, prognosis, and risk stratification through to treatment. However, for this to happen, huge amounts of data generated by the analysis must first be processed and interpreted for clinical significance.

By streamlining ZERO’s data matching and interpretation processes, ZeroDash reduces the time taken to generate a precision medicine report for a child by a massive 70 per cent.

According to Associate Professor Mark Cowley, ZERO’s Genomics and Bioinformatics Lead at Children’s Cancer Institute, ZeroDash represents an important step in making ZERO accessible to all children with cancer in Australia.

"ZeroDash has allowed us to overcome a major data interpretation bottleneck. When we first met We Discover, we had a goal to halve the amount of time it takes to analyse and interpret the complex genomic data generated for each child enrolled on ZERO. Through the creation of ZeroDash, we have now achieved that, with a median 3.5-week turnaround from patient biopsy to receiving a personalised molecular report.”

Scott Forrester, CEO of We Discover, says his team was highly motivated to work on ZeroDash. “We wanted to do whatever we could to help improve the Zero Childhood Cancer Program. I am so proud of our partnership and the positive impact our work will have on children with cancer.”

The Australian Good Design Award accolade, more commonly known as the “Good Design Tick”, is among the most respected and recognised design endorsement symbols in the industry. This year, the Awards attracted more than 900 high-quality entries from Australia and around the world, each of which was evaluated against a strict set of criteria, including good design, design innovation and design impact. The "Best in Class" award or "White Tick" is awarded to the best overall project in each category.

“To be recognised with an Australian Good Design Award tells the world this project not only represents design excellence, but it also surpasses the criteria for design innovation and design impact,” said Dr Brandon Gien, CEO of Good Design Australia and Chair of the Australian Good Design Awards.


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