Pratik Shah @ National Cancer Policy Forum

The National Cancer Policy Forum developed a 2-workshop series to examine strategies to improve cancer diagnosis and care. The first workshop focused on patient access to expertise and technologies in oncologic imaging and pathology (held on February 12 – 13, 2018). The second workshop will be held on October 29 – 30, 2018 to examine the use of high-dimensional omics data and computational methods in precision oncology care. 

A major component of high-quality cancer care is to ensure the delivery of the right treatment to the right patient at the right time. Advances in biomedicine have contributed to the growing use of precision oncology therapies that target specific abnormalities in a patient’s cancer, facilitated in part by the development of large-scale biologic databases, computational methods, and omics technologies that enable molecular characterization of patients’ cancers. 

In current clinical practice, oncologists are increasingly using diagnostic tests to determine cancer treatment plans based on the molecular underpinnings of an individual patient’s cancer (often in a one-biomarker/one-treatment manner). Since the development of cancer is almost always multi-genic and multi-clonal, the cancer community is examining opportunities to develop, validate, and use multiplexed omics tests (e.g., multi-parameter/multi-treatment predictions) to better tailor cancer treatments and improve patient outcomes.

As high-complexity omics data and testing become more widely available, the cancer community needs clear direction on how to apply complex computational biology methods in precision cancer care to ensure both patient safety and the integrity of scientific findings.

The workshop will feature invited presentations and panel discussions on topics that may include: 
• challenges and opportunities to use omics data to develop precision medicine approaches and technologies in cancer care
• potential standards and best practices for computational software and methodological approaches for the use of big data to inform the care of patients with cancer, especially in regard to multi-parameter/multi-treatment testing and interpretation 
•potential opportunities to improve the translation of omics technologies into oncology practice 

The National Cancer Policy Forum is collaborating with the Board on Mathematical Sciences and Analytics to conduct this workshop.

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