Why do we need big amounts of data to develop better treatments?

The Harmony Alliance uses big data to improve care for patients with blood cancers such as leukemia lymphoma and MDS.

It aims to develop treatments that are:

  • more effective
  • have fewer side-effects
  • secure a higher quality of life

However the best possible treatment may differ from one person to another. This is partly due to biological differences such as the genetic characteristics of the tumor cells.

If we could predict the course of a disease and how it responds to treatment on the basis of biological factors we could offer patients a tailored treatment. This is called personalized medicine.

Spread all across Europe databases from clinical studies and public registries contain clinical and biological data from thousands of blood cancer patients.

We anonymize these data records and assemble them into one harmonized Big Data Platform harmony researchers can use this platform to answer a variety of research questions and learn how to predict the development of a particular disease and how certain subgroups of patients will respond to treatment.

This should result in tools that will enable clinicians and doctors to rapidly select the most promising treatment for a particular patient.

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