Georgetown Lombardi is developing the Georgetown Database of Cancer (G-DOC) to serve as a rich repository of clinical and molecular information that paves the way for personalized therapies for cancer patients. G-DOC combines clinical information -- such as family history, physical examination and laboratory tests -- with a detailed molecular analysis of the individual to obtain a nuanced understanding of the disease.

In short, G-DOC challenges the existing "one-size-fits-all" cancer treatment model, which does not consider the individual biological, genetic and environmental factors that underlie the malignancy. the hope is that researchers will be able to access enormous amounts of biomedical data from heterogeneous sources that have been integrated into a user-friendly, Web-based portal.

The objectives are mainly two-fold: to enrich clinicians' practice according to systems medicine principles and to generate accessible and searchable information to seed drug discovery. 

With more than 500,000 cancer deaths occurring annually, physician-scientists need user-friendly tools in their hands now that will help them generate new hypotheses for their research. Further, if the tools are too hard to use, busy clinicians will not take the time to adopt them into their practice.

Subha Madhavan, MS, PHD, the first director of clinical research informatics for the Medical Center and one of the key architects of the G-DOC infrastructure, says, "We are in a data-rich but information-poor environment. Integrative data portals like G-DOC have become an absolutely indispensable part of biomedical research."

Madhavan and her team are working with researchers to coordinate data from three pilot studies to test the G-DOC platform: