This blog entry is for everyone and anyone who has not been able to keep up with the huge initiative at the National Cancer Institute. It just might have the answers to a specific Cancer question. By attending an NCI conference in Washington DC I have a much clearer picture of the opportunities and challenges associated moving the needle, so to speak, on personalized medicine across the entire spectrum of cancers. My focus is on breast cancer but the same underlying principles of biology and medicine apply as well.
Disregard the fancy mind boggling terms and plethora of acronyms. It is all about tapping into the mountains of clinical data that currently exists in silos around the world that don’t communicate with one another. Sounds impossible but what I learned yesterday is that significant progress has been made in connecting some 50 NCI designated cancer centers both in the US and abroad.
This work has been going on since 2002 and the equivalent of a national electric power grid has been implemented which facilitates collaborative research and making that information available for treatment decisions at the beside.
NCI maintains a comprehensive website on the program and I would recommend you take a few minutes to digest an overview of the program. The annual NCI budget is about $5 billion dollars. R. Hannes Niedner, M.D., the caBIG Deployment Lead (CDL) at the Moores UCSD Cancer Center, stated, “ By implementing caBIG, we expect to be able to increase the research efficiency (shorter turn around time from hypothesis to results; faster discovery), translational efficiency ( faster turn around time from bench to bedside; faster technology transfer), and operational efficiency of our organization.”