In the ongoing efforts to advance what we know about chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), Dr. Philip Payne performs an interesting and important role at the Ohio State University and for the Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Research Consortium (CRC). He is a biomedical informatics expert and I will let him explain what he does, but here is the link to his profile. I had a chance to ask him about this topic during a break at the CRC meeting.
Key Take Aways:
- When researchers collect our blood, they are collecting our data as well.
- Unlike the blood sample (which will run out eventually), the data gathered from our blood is completely renewable and reusable and is a potentially life-saving research resource, not unlike donating an organ.
- Our data points can be combined with many others to form BIG DATA* that can answer questions quickly (if you use super computer) that would typically take years in the traditional format of live patient research.
- For CLL, this BIG DATA research has been performing detailed cytogenetic analyses and which will eventually allow researchers to help tailor individual therapies.
While this might seem to be a dry statistical topic, it is actually an exciting subject that promises to speed up our race to a cure for chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
*Big data is a term used for massive amounts of information that can be interpreted by analytics to identify trends or patterns. Organizations use big data by gathering records and information captured and then interpreting it. Common in other industries, big data has only recently begun to become a factor in healthcare. Looking at the data and using computational tools and insights from biology allows scientists to generate new information. This can help to generate more knowledge about diseases and to develop therapeutic solutions and diagnostic schemes and to identify new drug targets.
This is an eye-opening interview from late April 2015 that I recommend you watch a few times.
Brian Koffman 10/22/15