In February, CBS This Morning had a segment on Mount Sinai’s novel use of fruit flies to screen for personalized cancer drugs. Ross Cagan, PhD, Associate Dean of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, discussed how his laboratory replicates a patient’s tumor and implants it in a fruit fly. Then his team tests an arsenal of 840 drugs—all approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for other uses—to see if they shrink the tumor.
Vast amounts of data from genomic sequencing and electronic health records (EHRs) have the potential to radically improve the health of individual patients, but first, institutions must learn how to manage the data, and adopt uniform standards that allow them to share it.
This discussion took center stage at a Working Summit on Big Data hosted by The Atlantic in partnership with the Mount Sinai Health System on Wednesday, October 23, at The New York Palace Hotel. At a roundtable discussion, 24 policymakers, entrepreneurs, and health care leaders shared their thoughts and experiences in harnessing petabytes of data for use in improving human health.
Personalized Medicine is a rapidly evolving approach to patient care that incorporates an individual’s genetic information into a customized prevention or treatment plan. Mapping a person’s total genetic makeup or whole genome sequencing has created mountains of data about variations in our human genetic code. As this experience has grown, some of these variations have been linked to risks for certain diseases, or in some cases the likelihood that a person will respond to a particular treatment. Individuals may now submit a DNA sample and obtain their genetic sequence with accompanying risk association analysis for a few hundred dollars. Can this technology however be harnessed to drive better outcomes for patients diagnosed with cancer? Many clinicians and scientists argue that we are not there yet.