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ASCO Launches Big Data Platform for Cancer Care

January 22, 2015
by Rajiv Leventhal
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The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) has announced that it will deliver a big data platform to improve  care for cancer patients.

ASCO will use a database called CancerLinQ, which will be developed using SAP HANA, a multi-purpose in-memory data management and application platform, officials say. When complete, CancerLinQ is expected to unlock real-world patient care data from millions of electronic health records (EHRs) and more securely process and analyze the data to provide immediate high-quality feedback and clinical decision support to providers. Doctors should be able to receive personalized insights on a scope that was previously unattainable and to help patients gain benefits by having access to high-quality care based on the most up-to-date insights and findings, according to ASCO officials.

“CancerLinQ will help improve cancer care by delivering the latest information to doctors no matter where they practice so that patients can receive high-quality, state-of-the-art care regardless of where they live,” Clifford A. Hudis, M.D., ASCO’s immediate past president, said in a statement. “With CancerLinQ, we can also learn from the care given to the 97 percent of adult patients who do not currently participate in clinical trials.”

The platform will aim to provide advanced capabilities, such as predictive text analytics, spatial processing and data virtualization on the same architecture, officials say. “Since every instance of cancer is unique, there is no exact way of knowing which treatments will work for a specific patient,” said Bernd Leukert, member of the executive board of SAP SE, products & innovation. “…By analyzing huge amounts of data in cancer patient medical records, it allows doctors to tailor treatments to each patient individually and uncover patterns that improve patient care…”

ASCO’s CancerLinQ, in cooperation with SAP, is working to develop the first version of CancerLinQ, scheduled for release in late 2015. Eight oncology practices around the U.S. have signed agreements with CancerLinQ to provide patient records for the first version of CancerLinQ. Seven more large cancer centers will soon join this effort, meaning approximately 500,000 patients will be represented in the first version of CancerLinQ.

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