Oncologists at the upcoming American Society of Clinical Oncology conference in Chicago will hear about progress on two big-data initiatives to improve cancer care.
The annual event, which runs May 29 through June 2 and typically draws more than 30,000 attendees, is sometimes likened to an annual Woodstock Festival for oncologists, cancer researchers and related professionals from around the world. The 245,000-square-foot exhibit hall will feature more than 400 exhibitors and 5,000 research abstracts.
Among the highly anticipated agenda items will be a progress report on CancerLinQ, a cancer-quality initiative ASCO announced in January. The database aims to compile information from millions of patients' electronic health records to disseminate previously inaccessible data on cancer care and reduce medical “gray zones,” in which costly treatments and medications may have little measurable benefit.
Last year, ASCO launched its Targeted Agent and Profiling Utilization Registry Study to collect real-world data on clinical outcomes for patients receiving molecularly targeted cancer drugs. Updates will be announced at the meeting.
Tremendous progress has been achieved through decades of clinical research, but the key to more rapid progress lies in the ability to transform data into knowledge, ASCO president Dr. Peter Yu said last week at a news conference. “By sharing data, we can accelerate learning and make faster strides against cancer.”
Not surprisingly, the hot topic of precision medicine, which aims to cure diseases through access to personalized genetic information, is also on the agenda.