by Peter Kuhn
Personalized Cancer Care: How to predict and monitor the response of cancer drugs in individual patients.
1. Biology: Cancer spreads through the body by cancer cells leaving the primary site of cancer, traveling through the blood to find a new site where it can settle, colonize, expand and eventually kill the patient.
2. Challenge: the concentration of the cancer cells is about 1 to 1 million normal white blood cells or 1 to 2 billion cells if you include the red blood cells. This makes for about a handful of these cells in a tube of blood (assuming that you have given blood before, you can picture this pretty easily). A cell is about 10 microns in diameter
3. Opportunity: if can find these cells, we could always just take a tube of blood and characterize the disease in that patient at that point in time to make treatment decisions. We have significant numbers of drugs going through the development pipeline but no good way of making decisions about which drug to take at which time.
4. Solution: create a large monolayer of 10 million cells, stain the cells, then image them and then find the cells computationally by an iterative process. It is a simple data driven solution to very large challenge. It is simple in the world of algorithms, HPC and cloud, and setup to revolutionize cancer care.
28th February to 1st March 2012