Can Big Data Help Cure Cancer?

Excerpt:

“Curing cancer seems like something that would happen at hospitals and not in computer rooms. But applying analytics to human DNA and the DNA of cancer cells is a promising frontier of cancer research that can help patients get the best treatment for the type of cancer they have, minimize the negative impact of that treatment on them, and ultimately save lives.

“For Intel’s Bryce Olson, it’s a personal mission.

“Olson is a prostate cancer patient and global marketing director of the Health and Life Sciences Group at chipmaker Intel. Together with the Knight Cancer Center Institute at Oregon Health & Science University, Intel is the company that has been driving the Collaborative Cancer Cloud project.”

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Do you have questions about this story? Let us know in a comment below. If you’re wondering whether this story applies to your own cancer case or a loved one’s, we invite you to use our Ask Cancer Commons service.


IBM's Watson Extends Cancer Insights to 14 New Centers

“IBM on Tuesday said 14 US cancer treatment centers would join a partnership to get personalized care treatment plans from the company’s Watson supercomputer.

“The project extends the use of Watson for cancer treatment based on a patient’s own DNA and insights from a large database of medical literature and studies.

” ‘Determining the right drug combination for an advanced cancer patient is alarmingly difficult, requiring a complex analysis of different sources of Big Data that integrates rapidly emerging clinical trial information with personalized gene sequencing,’ said Norman Sharpless, of the University of North Carolina’s Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.

” ‘We are partnering with IBM in an effort to solve this decision problem with the help of cognitive technology and to improve the decisions we make with our patients to maximize their chance for cure.’ ”


Big Data Key to Precision Medicine's Success

“Technological advances are enabling scientists to sequence the genomes of cancer tumors, revealing a detailed portrait of genetic mutations that drive these diseases. But genomic studies are only one piece of the puzzle that is precision medicine, a Weill Cornell Medical College researcher writes in Nature. In order to realize the promise of this field, there needs to be an increased focus on creating robust clinical databases that include medical histories from patients around the country, which physicians can then use along with genomic data to tailor individual treatments.

“In his commentary, published April 15, Dr. Mark Rubin, director of the Institute for Precision Medicine, posits that searchable databases that compile information from a wide range of medical centers would allow researchers and clinicians to look for patterns and trends in cancer across a large patient population. They could then better design studies and clinical trials, create personalized treatment plans and inform medical decisions so that each patient has access to the best care.

” ‘With this vast clinical data, if we have a patient sitting in front of us who has a mutation that we’ve never seen before, we can ask the question – has anyone ever seen it before?’ said Dr. Rubin, who is also the Homer T. Hirst III Professor of Oncology in Pathology and a professor of pathology and laboratory medicine. ‘With the development of big databases of clinical information, researchers will be able to say with certainty that there are, for instance, 12 people in the country who have this mutation and we think that they would benefit from a certain treatment.’ ”


Finding Cancer Cures in Our Own Backyard

Shortly after her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in early 2013, Stacey Tinianov went in for her first mammogram. Several days and one biopsy later, she got a phone call that said she, too, had breast cancer.

“I went from my very first mammogram to, ‘you need to have a mastectomy,’ in two weeks,” Stacey said. “And what I was missing were options. I was missing options with context.” Continue reading…


Big Data Meets Cancer: Netflix CPO Neil Hunt Explains Why Cancer Commons Matters in TEDx Talk

Late last year, Netflix Chief Product Officer and Cancer Commons supporter Neil Hunt gave a talk at TEDxBeaconStreet. He believes that big data analysis outside of traditional clinical trials can help identify personalized treatments for individual patients that can significantly improve their chances of survival. As Hunt explains, Cancer Commons is an exciting embodiment of this new approach to life-saving cancer research. Watch the video:


Enlisting a Computer to Battle Cancers, One by One

“Once you decode a tumor’s genome, what’s next? Oncologists hope that IBM’s Watson will help them find drugs for patients’ particular brain cancer mix…

“When Robert B. Darnell was a graduate student in the early 1980s, he spent a year sequencing a tiny fragment of DNA. Now Dr. Darnell is an oncologist and the president of the New York Genome Center, where the DNA-sequencing machines can decode his grad-school fragment in less than a ten-thousandth of a second.”


Enlisting a Computer to Battle Cancers, One by One

“Once you decode a tumor’s genome, what’s next? Oncologists hope that IBM’s Watson will help them find drugs for patients’ particular brain cancer mix…

“When Robert B. Darnell was a graduate student in the early 1980s, he spent a year sequencing a tiny fragment of DNA. Now Dr. Darnell is an oncologist and the president of the New York Genome Center, where the DNA-sequencing machines can decode his grad-school fragment in less than a ten-thousandth of a second.”


Enlisting a Computer to Battle Cancers, One by One

“Once you decode a tumor’s genome, what’s next? Oncologists hope that IBM’s Watson will help them find drugs for patients’ particular brain cancer mix…

“When Robert B. Darnell was a graduate student in the early 1980s, he spent a year sequencing a tiny fragment of DNA. Now Dr. Darnell is an oncologist and the president of the New York Genome Center, where the DNA-sequencing machines can decode his grad-school fragment in less than a ten-thousandth of a second.”


Video: Marty Tenenbaum Speaks at Microsoft Research

Cancer Commons founder Marty Tenenbaum, PhD, recently visited Microsoft’s Richmond, CA, office to give a presentation entitled “How to Beat Cancer.”

Because of “a convergence of recent developments in genomics, big data informatics, social networks, and personalized medicine that is transforming the landscape of cancer research and treatment,” Marty says, “we are now on the threshold of being able to give each individual the knowledge, resources, and tools needed to successfully treat the one disease that matters most to them.”

Watch the complete presentation at the Microsoft Research site.