The Future Of Cancer Research, Diagnostics, And Individualized Therapy

Claudius Metze

Because of digitization, tomorrow’s healthcare is becoming available today.

Nowhere is this more welcome than in cancer research and treatment. According to a report by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), by 2030, cancer will be the leading cause of death in the United States. Over the same period, the report predicts that new cases will increase by almost 45 percent.

Digital innovation is re-imagining healthcare business models and bringing much-needed improvements to cancer research, diagnostics, and therapy. Digital transformation brings analytics, transactions, cloud computing, and Big Data all together on the same core platform. The result is a never-before-seen level of coordination and interaction. Wider and deeper networking is transforming the industry and enabling a new ecosystem of cancer research and care.

Because of increased data and analytics, today’s patients can receive a more personalized experience, from prevention to diagnosis to therapy.

With the advent of genome profile mapping, we have reached a point where a patient’s genetic code can help form better treatment options. Treatment can be customized to the person’s genetic makeup. A predisposition to cancer can be foreseen, allowing more effective cancer prevention. Earlier diagnosis will also be possible, which increases the treatment success rates.

The cancer patient experience

Big Data gives us a wealth of knowledge that past generations could only dream about. While it can help create a very personalized patient experience, it will also be based on knowledge of a multitude of similar cases and the latest clinical research. With the addition of an ultra-personalized genome profile, the picture is customized to the individual like never before.

Cancer patients today are well-informed and empowered to manage their own healthcare by using digital technology that includes detailed, personalized health apps. They get reminders for routine checkups based on their personal health plan. Physicians offer online appointment scheduling, which patients initiate through the app.

For example, suppose a patient named Gloria sets up her appointment through the app on her smart phone. During her checkup, the doctor finds that a biopsy is needed. She orders the procedure. An assistant schedules the appointment with the hospital in accord with Gloria’s personal schedule. Gloria receives detailed information about the planned procedure and instructions on how to proceed.

After the procedure, Gloria is informed that the biopsy was positive for cancer. She researches the possibilities for treatment online. She learns that personalized treatment options exist locally for her cancer type. She also learns that insurance through her employer will pay for such programs.

Gloria’s diagnostician recommends treatment options based on the latest clinical research and Gloria’s genetic profile. She starts treatment at a hospital that specializes in her type of cancer. The treatment is based on her age, her genetic profile, and the data from clinical studies on a multitude of similar cases.

All data gathered from Gloria’s treatment are compiled anonymously for further research and study. The data is aggregated and analyzed. This ensures continuous learning from each individual case.

Big Data for cancer research, diagnostics, and therapy

One problem is that data from thousands of individual cancer cases currently sits in separate files. The solution is to gather all of this data on a single digital platform. ASCO is doing just that on a platform it calls CancerLinQ. The Big Data that is needed is currently being gathered. This broadening of the information base takes time. But it is in progress, and the progress is cumulative, adding information as it develops with every new case.

Real-time digital platforms create the opportunity for efficient broad-based diagnostics and treatment. The re-imagined business models for cancer care are far more proactive. Big Data and the new healthcare ecosystem offer new flexibility and depth of experience.

The core platform connects to all of the components of the ecosystem. It is the center from which all of your information and solutions develop. The smartest health care professionals have already embraced digital innovation and cloud computing for better patient outcomes. They are executing a digital strategy and increasing their scope of operation. Platform-based healthcare professionals are interconnected and collaborating in the cancer care ecosystem. As a result, the patient experience in today’s cancer care is more knowledge-based with clinical data. And it is more patient-empowered than ever before.

To learn more about digital transformation in healthcare, click here.

Claudius Metze

About Claudius Metze

Claudius Metze is a senior solution architect within the Healthcare Industry Business Unit within SAP. He is responsible for clinical innovations and digital transformation for Healthcare providers.