Big data key to overcoming drug resistant cancers

One of the UK’s leading cancer researchers is “extremely confident” about the ongoing treatment of the disease thanks to the role big data can play in improving the provision of future treatments and therapies.

Dr Bissan Al-Lazikani, head of data science at the Institute of Cancer Research, spoke to the Tomorrow Fair for the latest in our podcast series. She said that while drug resistance was one of the greatest challenges for developing effective cancer treatments, leaps forward in research fuelled by the collection and collation of more data could be the key to overcoming this problem.

She said: “The wonderful thing is that are generating more data than ever. Genome sequence is an awful lot cheaper and easier to do and we are becoming a lot smarter at collecting this data. So we are not only optimistic here at the institute but committed to utilise these integrated types of data to not only come up with better treatment but start honing in on the individual patient.

“Our aspiration is brave, but I really have faith we can achieve it. And that is that in five years time we can start trials that will allow us to tailor individual therapy combinations to individual patients at that time. Then monitor them and adapt those therapy combination s as they go.”