Saturday, November 5, 2016

Using Data and Better Computing to Make Cancer Beatable

This article from the Wall Street Journal centers around Vice President Joe Biden calling for better data, computing, and sharing in order to fight the battle against cancer. As some of you may know Biden’s son Beau died last year after he lost his battle with brain cancer. Mr. Biden has been put in charge of an effort to fight and wipe out cancer. This movement is led by the United States along with nine other countries in order to strengthen cancer research and treatment. Each regional hub will be working on cancers that are locally significant, and there will be a Department of Energy who will work to share cervical screening data.

The main goal of this group is to create a system to better share data, research, and test results. Medical data can be difficult to use and some break through studies can take well over a year to be published. The whole point is to be able to share this data in a more timely fashion. There are so many groups and countries in the world doing testing to beat cancer, but in terms of sharing this data it can be difficult. The National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health has launched a redesign of its cancer clinical trials information through a new website and the FDA is working together to bring together researchers from the government sector and the private sector to design “a smarter and more efficient clinical trials by exploring ways to modify the criteria for who can participate in a trial or by sharing control groups across studies.”

I thought this article was very interesting. There is definitely a need for more communication when it comes to cancer research and data. All over the world cancer research is a huge industry. Almost every country seems to have a Cancer Research Institute dedicated to cancer research and experimenting. I never thought about if all of these different groups communicate their findings with one another. There has to be so much data out there from years and years of experiments and research but it has to be difficult to communicate it to the rest of the world.
In our world today everything is based off sharing through technology. Technology has advanced so much in just the past twenty years that people can share almost anything through technology. People are constantly sharing everything through social media, so using this ideology in the fight against cancer will be beneficial. As I stated earlier since there are so many different groups conducting their own research it’s imperative that all of these groups are able to share their data. One group may find a breakthrough in one aspect of their experiments while another group has another part that can benefit it. The way technology is today we finally have the weapons to fight cancer full on. Biden also said, “We are at an inflection point. We finally have an army…and we have the technology.”

1 comment:

  1. I found Daniel’s article Vice President Biden Says Better Data, Computing Make Cancer Beatable, very interesting as I would never pair cancer research and data together. The article states that the Vice President, Joe Biden, has put forward a massive effort to use the power of data in the fight against cancer. When Mr. Biden said, “Cancer is not a national problem. It is not an international problem. It is a humanitarian problem” I immediately related to his sentiment. I am part of the Relay for Life committee on Loyola’s campus and know the impact and how widespread the effects of cancer are.
    Like Daniel I agree that there are so many different organizations and countries doing cancer research, however how can we be sure that all this research is being utilized everywhere in the world and being shared? Mr. Biden proposed that we use a system to better share data, research and test results so that the data can be standardized and shared and placed in a common and easily accessible location. My first thought when I read this was a cloud service. In today’s world we use cloud services for almost everything, music, pictures, important documents, etc. so I believe that it would definitely be possible to use a cloud service to share research on cancer. Some issues that may arise from sharing research on a cloud or any service may be who gets accredited for any treatments or cures found. I know that often in science, doctors and scientists do not share their research until it is compete so there is no chance of plagiarism. However, in a case where many doctors are sharing research on cancer anyone can take credit for it. Although this may be an issue for some researchers I believe, like Mr. Biden, that the aim is to find a cure and defeat cancer not for fame or fortune.
    I also found it interesting that data is often used in war, and as Mr. Biden stated we can use technology and data as a weapon against cancer and wage a war against cancer using the developing technology. The article Decoding and Defeating Cancer with Data Science on Slate, agrees with Mr. Biden that big data is driving big changes in the way we diagnose and will ultimately defeat cancer. Researcher Josh Stuart is trying to foster a free exchange of information between clinicians and computer scientists studying prostate cancer. He has developed a social media-inspired platform that links prostate cancer patients, doctors and researchers, as well as data from biopsy samples, in real time.


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