Zeroing in on precision cancer treatment

For precision medicine to become a reality, vast improvements will be required in clinical workflows, computing and data-sharing, according to Brian Druker, M.D., director of the Knight Cancer Institute at Oregon Health & Science University.

There are celebrated success stories to illustrate the potential, he writes in an article at Fortune. Yet, while the cost of DNA sequencing continues to drop and molecular imaging is becoming more commonplace, much of the analysis work remains manual and can take six months or longer.

The Knight Cancer Institute and Intel have teamed up to try to bring that time down to one day by 2020.

Knight and Intel have created a prototype collaborative platform to enable cancer precision medicine research across multiple institutions. It uses existing public and private computing clouds and standardizes research findings so information can be more easily shared, according Druker.

The platform also uses a distributed model: researchers at different institutions can connect over a secure network without moving the data, yet the shareable cancer-treatment knowledge base grows.

Intel announced the Collaborative Cancer Cloud in August and said it would open source components of it in 2016. It also said universities in Boston and Austin, Texas, will be joining the effort.

In addition, this summer IBM announced plans to collaborate with 14 cancer institutes across the country to create more personalized treatments for patients. And a University of Chicago-based team, using a dedicated supercomputer, found a way to analyze 240 full genomes in just two days.

Meanwhile, researchers from Canada, Europe and the United States are calling for a global genomic data repository in the cloud available to authorized researchers worldwide.

To learn more:
- read the article