Using Tech To Cure Cancer
Wednesday - March 05, 2008
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By Lambert Onuma
President & CEO of Convergence CT Inc.
I have been called a dreamer and a doer by many people throughout the years. I have spent a lifetime coming up with ideas and making them happen.
But it wasn’t until I moved back to Hawaii after working in California for more than 25 years that I was able to put my best idea into action. The idea was to electronically gather and analyze huge amounts of patient health data from around the world. From this data, it can be determined which medical treatments work the best, which hospitals save the most lives and why, and which drugs are most effective in treating illnesses.
Wanting answers to these questions led to Convergence CT, the company I formed in 2001 together with former Hawaii Gov. George Ariyoshi and Brad Mossman - my business partners.
Two diseases that Convergence CT is focusing on are cancer and diabetes. With more than 6,000 new cancer cases being diagnosed annually in Hawaii and almost 10 percent of our resident population already suffering from some form of diabetes, accurate (and early) diagnoses and information on what treatment methods are available have never been more important. For the first time, using Convergence CT software, health-care providers can really see which medical treatments and treatment patterns are most successful and have the best outcomes.
Using technology to help save lives has always been a personal dream of mine. Since my mother’s passing from ovarian cancer at the young age of 67, I have always wanted to use my knowledge and expertise in technolog to somehow help others be better able to cope with the suffering brought on by these diseases and, more importantly, to help medical researchers find cures for these diseases.
The path to where I am today started with a degree in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan. Several years after graduating, and while working with Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), the company arranged for a number of its executives (including myself) to participate in an MBA certificate program built exclusively for its executives and taught by Harvard University professors. After spending many years with DEC, I became the co-founder of two high-technology companies in Silicon Valley that went through initial public offerings (IPOs) and acquisitions by larger companies. I then went back to work for DEC in its Research and Advanced Development Laboratory in Palo Alto, Calif., as its director of business development, bringing products to market from its research labs. After awhile, I found myself wanting to come back to Hawaii.
Convergence CT is the second high-technology company I have co-founded here in Honolulu since returning home. As an employer, I feel strongly about creating opportunities here that will not only keep our best graduates here, but also will bring home those kids who went away for college and are having a hard time moving back home because of the lack of rewarding high-technology jobs and decent salaries. I was one of those kids myself! I am determined to offer Mainland-competitive challenges and salaries for the Islands’best and brightest. We have hired some brilliant graduates from the University of Hawaii and Hawaii Pacific University. These individuals hold key positions within Convergence CT and are valued employees. As the company grows, we hope to hire another 40-60 of Hawaii’s brightest, giving them an opportunity to once again work and live in beautiful Hawaii. We also want to continue to develop technology that will, someday, be an integral part of the breakthroughs in medicine to cure devastating diseases such as cancer and diabetes.
Changing Hawaii. Changing the world. Convergence CT: dreams becoming reality.
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