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Leading Cancer Center Paving the Way for Personalized Oncology Treatments

   November 27, 2017

By tapping into large pools of clinical, biological, and genomic data, Gustave Roussy gives physicians and researchers real-time insights that can improve cancer care and outcomes.

Cancer is a global pandemic that crosses all borders, causing one in eight deaths worldwide, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). To stay ahead in the fight against cancer, treatment centers around the world are undergoing a digital transformation that changes how they care for patients. To provide the highest quality treatments, healthcare organizations are using a combination of data tools, including real-time information sharing, digital analysis of patient and pharmaceutical information, and genome sequencing.  With this shift, cancer patients get individualized, less invasive treatments that can improve their odds of survival.

Leading the way in this type of innovative oncology treatment is Europe’s premier cancer-research institutes and treatment centers, Gustave Roussy.  The institute has developed an integrated approach to research, patient care, and teaching, while keeping the focus on the individual patient.

Currently, the busy institute has 3,000+ employees who care for 1,000 new cancer patients per month. It manages 400 beds and treats 220 outpatients with chemotherapy per day. Needless to say, Gustave Roussy generates massive amounts of biological, molecular, and pharmaceutical treatment data each year. And like most treatment centers, much of the collected vital cancer data—such as individual characteristics, genome data, treatment regimens, and outcomes—was locked away in information silos and not accessible to the physician at the point of care.  

As a result, the physicians at Gustave Roussy were not able to leverage collected data to drive better decisions and select optimal patient treatment plans. The oncologists had to rely on the uneasy blend of evidence-based medicine, traditional treatment modalities, and pattern recognition, extrapolating from cases the physician identifies as similar based mostly on their own intuition and experience.

Aggregating Usable Patient Data

Fortunately, that is all starting to change with the digital transformation happening at Gustave Roussy. With the knowledge that no two cancer patients are alike, Gustave Roussy has embarked on a journey to unlock oncology data from its immense volumes and varieties of patient and research information. Getting data on each patient is crucial in determining the best treatment plan, or more specifically, finding the right drug for the right patient. The aim is to provide its oncologists and researchers with digital, real-time insight for personalized treatments, improving patient outcomes.

The institution began by piloting SAP Health platform and SAP Medical Research Insights solution to better analyze like patients. The goal was to break down silos of stored data and explore a longitudinal view of patient records, based on various clinical and genomic data sources.

“The data scientists’ role is to find the signal among the noise. The more precise, the better for the patients,” says Professor Fabien Calvo, Chief Scientific Officer, Cancer Core Europe (Gustave Roussy). “To recognize differences, we need much more data for the patient.”

Historically, the process for identifying qualifying patients for treatments and evaluating new drugs was largely manual. Data collection and consolidation was stored in spreadsheets, taking months to decipher. Because of the complexity of crunching the patient data, only 3 percent of cancer patients were enrolled in clinical trials.

As Gustave Roussy moves toward a more automated and shared data collection model, its researchers and physicians can rapidly identify—and qualify--more patients for specific cancer treatment. The Institute can also benchmark the effectiveness of drugs against various types of cancer.

Combining Structured and Unstructured Data

One of the goals of the data collection platform at Gustave Roussy was to integrate its structured and unstructured patient data. Without that capability, the Institution could not fulfill its precision medicine objectives. In the past, disparate data sets could not be combined in a single view. By moving to the new Insights platform, Gustave Roussy has the ability to integrate different types of information, including

  • Electronic medical reports, demographics, biology lab data
  • Complex data
  • Genomic data
  • Text analysis
  • Imaging data, including (in the future) radiology and pathology.

With this technology, users can filter and group patients according to different attributes and data sources, including: clinical information systems, tumor registries, biobank systems, and even text documents, such as physicians’ notes.

Researchers and physicians can compare patient cohorts according to different metrics or export data for further analysis in other software. The platform offers a comprehensive overview of each individual patient’s medical history in a graphical timeline, making it easy to access information on any level of detail. With easier access and better data query tools, practitioners and oncologists can use data analytics routinely to make informed decisions at the point of care.

Analyzing Genomic and Clinical Data for Personalized Treatments

Gustave Roussy is now conducting several precision medicine initiatives using the SAP Medical Research Insights solution. One of them, a five-year year study, “Molecular Screening for Cancer Treatment Optimization (MOSCATO)” demonstrates that sequencing a large number of genes provides a clinical benefit for cancer patients.

With its technology partners and the Insights platform, Gustave Roussy brought together hospital, lab, and MOSCATO data for 1,200 cancer patients, with genomic data from 566 of these patients. The data set includes text analysis of more than 300,000 documents included in patient clinical systems.

As the amount of collected data expands, it becomes extremely useful, and physicians can gain confidence in using proven treatment plans. Clinicians and researchers will be able to query a mix of clinical data and data extracted from medical reports via text analysis and look for patterns in genetics, diagnoses, treatments, and survival rates. With the ability to analyze genomic and clinical data together, physicians can determine better patient outcomes.

Gustave Roussy intends to extend the new level of data integration to cover all cancer patients going forward.  It also plans to create a network with other institutes, including Cancer Core Europe, and generate large, virtual cohorts.

Professor Calvo notes that the solution gives Gustave Roussy the capability to see and analyze both genomic and clinical data in real-time, allowing the cancer center to shift to real-world, evidence-based outcomes. Doing so is revolutionizing how the organization cares for its cancer patients. Professor Calvo adds, “The Insights solution is clearly going to help reverse the decision-specific subset, giving us a lot of positivity and excitement.”

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