21.01.2019: THE BIG UNKNOWNS IN CANCER PATIENTS DATA
Scientific efforts to improve cancer treatments are based on patients data which are collected, shared and analyzed.
The larger the amount of data that contains the genomes of patients, the higher the chances of finding abnormalities which are statistically significant and clinically meaningful.
Based upon these data sets scientists can develop targeted therapies which affect the targets effectively and in addition may overcome resistance.
The clinical and genetic information of cancer patients is stored in academic centers, governments, foundations, research groups, pharmaceutical companies, non-academic centers.
These information must be communicable, shared and analyzed together.
The motivation of academic centers, pharma industry etc is to eliminate the sharing of the information in order to obtain exclusive, break-through drugs.
What is necessary to be done is changing the attitude of the present system by sharing regularly all data in open-access portals available to all researchers around the world. The discovery of new agents will be enhanced and overall this will be to the benefit of cancer patients.
Certainly, there are efforts through government toward this direction. For example the Obama precision medicine initiative as well as Joe Biden’s cancer moonshot initiative.
Today, there is little patients awareness about the value of cancer tissue biopsy or liquid biopsy to identify genetic changes. And furthermore, to collect and store and share these changes in order to select the right drug which will be beneficial to them and to the others.