Cancer group plans massive database for real-time feedback

A massive database that will provide "second opinions times multiples" is in the works from the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

It has unveiled the prototype of the system, known as The CancerLinQ network, that will track and analyze data on thousands of cancer patients in real time.

At the ASCO announcement, president-elect Clifford Hudis, M.D., chief of breast cancer medicine services at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, used as an example a woman with hormone-sensitive breast cancer. Her physician might prescribe a hormone blocker, but have questions about how long she should take it or how others with similar conditions have done, according to MedPage Today.

"[CancerLinQ] can also be used when there are no clinical trials data to tell us, maybe with a little more certainty, the best way to approach treatments without a big prospective evidence basis. This is real-time quality feedback," Hudis said.

The database so far has information on more than 130,000 patients. It collects information about cancer patients routinely entered into electronic health records and can accept clinical data from nearly any EHR vendor. The organization, however, is still working out how to create useful reports from the data and to overcome patient privacy issues, according to the Wall Street Journal story.

That piece says doctors won't have access to the first components of the database for 12 to 18 months yet.

The database follows the trend toward aggregating data from different care sources for real-time and predictive analytics. Researchers at the University of California Los Angeles are experimenting with big data analytics to test the effectiveness of an alarm designed to predict the development of brain swelling in trauma cases.

Meanwhile, Johns Hopkins researchers are relying on cloud storage as they build a massive database of cell samples aimed at discovering most effective treatment for cancer patients. They landed a five-year, $3.75 million grant from the National Cancer Institute for the project, designed to help physicians better predict how cancer will behave.

To learn more:
- check out the CancerLinQ network
- here's the Wall Street Journal article (subscription required)
- read the summary


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