Informatics Needs and Challenges in Cancer Research - Workshop Summary


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As information technology becomes an integral part of health care, it is important to collect and analyze data in a way that makes the information understandable and useful. Informatics tools – which help collect, organize, and analyze data – are essential to biomedical and health research and development.  The field of cancer research is facing an overwhelming deluge of data, heightening the national urgency to find solutions to support and sustain the cancer informatics ecosystem. There is a particular need to integrate research and clinical data to facilitate personalized medicine approaches to cancer prevention and treatment – for example, tailoring treatment based on an individual patient’s genetic makeup as well as that of the tumor – and to allow for more rapid learning from patient experiences.

To further examine informatics needs and challenges for 21st century biomedical research, the IOM’s National Cancer Policy Forum held a workshop, February 27-28, 2012. The workshop was designed to raise awareness of the critical and urgent importance of the challenges, gaps and opportunities in informatics; to frame the issues surrounding the development of an integrated system of cancer informatics for acceleration of research; and to discuss solutions for transformation of the cancer informatics enterprise. This document summarizes the workshop.