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­Using Patient Data For Personalized Cancer Treatments

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model of gene regulation network in mammalian cells

In 2011, researchers at Columbia University Medical Center built this model of the gene regulation network in mammalian cells that they used for studies into the genetic variability of cancer.

Credit: Columbia University Medical Center

Health organizations in Europe and the U.S. are pushing ahead with plans to compile massive databases of patient information, which they anticipate will not just improve treatments and survival chances for cancer sufferers, but will drive the development of new therapies. These moves will involve many more participants in massive clinical trials than today, and will allow medical centers in the developed world to expand their reach globally.

One organization, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), aims to have ready by 2015 the production version of its CancerLinQ 'learning health system,' building on the experience of a 170,000-record prototype unveiled in 2013. At a White House event in November 2013, Thomas Kalil, deputy director for technology and innovation at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, identified CancerLinQ as one of a number of healthcare systems that would aggregate large quantities of data to improve treatment.


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