• What Is Modelling in Cancer Patients?

Microscopy & Microtechniques

What Is Modelling in Cancer Patients?

Nov 10 2021

In the UK, it’s estimated that one in every two people will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lifetime. Significant sums of money have been poured into researching the challenges and experiences of overcoming this horrible disease. Some progress has been forthcoming; today, around half of all those who contract cancer will live at least another 10 years after their diagnosis.

Nonetheless, it still remains one of the deadliest diseases on the planet – someone dies in Britain every four minutes from cancer. As such, scientists are always on the hunt for new and innovative ways to learn more about cancer, how it develops and how it can be defeated. In the age of big data, the concept of cancer modelling represents a potentially transformative avenue of research.

Big data and cancer

The digital revolution has changed almost every aspect of our daily lives. With far more of our activities, interactions and transactions taking place online, nearly everything we do can be logged in a virtual database. The accrual of this information is known as big data and analysis of it can yield important insights in a wide array of spheres, from how we run our homes and businesses to what we can expect from climate change.

The world of medicine also stands to benefit from this development, especially with regard to deadly diseases about which we know little, such as cancer. Given that cancer is constantly evolving even while in the host patient, and that its evolution can vary depending on the unique physical attributes, demographics and history of that host, finding an effective treatment plan can be extremely challenging. That’s where big data comes in.

Broadening our knowledge

The multitude of cancer strains, alongside the fact that every single person has their own individual DNA, means that the degree of variance in cancer behaviour is far too high for the human brain to comprehend. However, computers are capable of seeing patters where cannot. By analysing the vast reams of data that we have amassed on historical cases of cancer, we can predict with a certain amount of accuracy what might occur in the future.

This type of research is known as cancer modelling. Not only can it be applied to tumours themselves and used to ascertain whether they are likely to be benign or malignant, but it can also predict which course of action might work best for a given individual, based upon their personal profile. What’s more, it can also monitor how they are coping with the treatment plan and anticipate a deterioration in their condition, thus giving doctors advance warning and allowing them to try something else.

For more information on cancer modelling and how it can assist the treatment of those diagnosed with the disease, this guide is a good introduction to the topic.


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