The Georgetown Database of Cancer (G-DOC) is a major step toward personalized medicine, an essential concept when dealing with the unique nature of cancer.
The G-DOC is a mechanism to bring all data for one patient together, and then compare it to the same data from every other patient with a similar disease. By comparing this data, Lombardi researchers see to identify the factors that most reliably tack with clinical outcomes. The too is in fact a series of databases, combining clinical information from patients with a database containing analyses of the molecular characteristics of each patient's cancer. Some have estimated that every patient will generate about 1,000.000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 [or 10^39]bytes of data for analysis. This includes information ranging from molecular data about DNA, proteins, and other markers in the cancer cells, imaging scans, and treatment information.
Subha Madhavan, PhD, was named Lombardi's first Director of Clinical Research Informatics in October of 2008. She was recruited to Lombardi from the National Cancer institute to coordinate combining the existing databases into the new infrastructure. G-DOC will take advantage of standards and best practices from other large-scale informatics projects to help integrate the wide variety of patient data it will hold.
Robert Clarke, PhD, DSc, is a basic scientist whose research focuses on correlating gene expression with clinical characteristics or cancer in order to identify options for more personalized treatments. G-DOC's collection of patient disease and treatment information will allow researchers like Dr. Clarke to make connections between outcomes and the clinical and molecular characteristics of cancer. In the process, he and other scientists will discover new ways to more effectively attack cancer cells, creating many targets for new cancer drugs.
Claudine Isaacs, MD, is the director of Lombardi's Familial Cancer Registry, which tracks one of the nation's largest collections of individuals from high risk breast cancer families. The Registry will become an anchor in the larger G-DOC-and will be one of the first existing databases to be incorporated in the new infrastructure. The pilot projects in preparation for 2009 will study how the 10^39 bytes of patient information can be most effectively presented to the doctors and nurses who provide care to Lombardi's patients. Some estimates suggest that today only 20 percent of available information about patient's cancer is used in the course of his or her treatment.