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New Leukemia Research Uses the Power of Big Data



Oregon Health & Science University researchers have published one of the largest records of this type for the treatment of leukemia.

The problem is, leukemia is not just a disease, but many. Treatment has remained largely unchanged over the last 40 years, with fewer than 25 percent surviving at five years.

So, scientists from OHSU and ten other academic centers have teamed up to compare how more than 100 different medicines have affected 670 cancers – and their different genetic conditions.

"We have an idea for a few medications on how well they work on the basis of genetics," said OHSU Professor Jeff Tyner, who is one of 88 authors in this study. "But the reality is that we are for most drugs actually do not yet understand how well they work on the basis of genetics."

"Now we have the beginnings of a framework to better understand how genetics drugs that may or may not work, "Tyner said.

The hope is that in the future doctors will be able to test a cancer based on its genetic signature and know which drug to use.

Meanwhile, however, the problem is so complex that it requires the processing power of large amounts of data to tease out the solutions.

The chip company Intel collaborated in the attempt.

Shannon McWeeney, a researcher at the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, said the amount of data raises a question: how can it be shared in a meaningful way?

"This requires a new generation of scientific approaches and strategies for managing, integrating, and visualizing the data," said McWeeney.

Your team developed a new data visualization tool called Vizome to do just that.

"Vizome allows anyone to explore this data, ask questions and search for answers," said McWeeney.

Tyler says the next step is clinical trials in patients. So far, researchers have only studied how drugs affect cancer samples.

"Rubber naturally hits the road when we test these drugs on patients in the clinic, so this study gives us the framework to prioritize which clinical trials should begin first and what medications should be in them," said Tyner.

"This is the largest trial to date in which both drug testing and genetics are coupled to primary tumor cells."

The director of the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, Brian Druker, said the study was a prime example of AML research to be conducted under a collaboration of multiple institutions.

The study was sponsored by the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and published in the latest issue of the journal & # 39; Nature & # 39; released.


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