Helping oncologists to take complex decisions in treating cancer.
siddharth srivastava (~siddharth40) |
Mention of “Cancer” evokes words like tumor, chemotherapy, hair loss, vomiting and pain. Interestingly our knowledge and thereby cancer treatment has changed radically in the past few years and is changing rapidly every passing day. In 2003, human genome was sequenced and for the first time we could read entire human DNA from end to end. Interestingly DNA and cancer are deeply connected. Scientists deciphered that always a change in DNA (mutation) led to cancer (oncogenic mutation). Cigarette smoking, alcohol, pollution etc only led to such DNA change (oncogenic mutations). This led to numerous diagnostic companies starting to extract and sequence tumor DNA, to detect the root cause of each patient tumor. While drug companies formulated new drugs that targeted specific DNA change (mutation). These were called targeted therapies which were very different from chemotherapy in being very precise, less toxic, less side effects and they could be taken orally just like any regular pill. Thus, an oncologist (cancer doctor) could treat a cancer tumor effectively if s/he knew the precise location of mutation in the entire patient tumor DNA and the drug that targeted it. Suddenly oncologists in India and elsewhere, found themselves struggling to comprehend tumor DNA and the technology around it. Already burdened with tomes of ever changing patient treatment guidelines, now they were needed to integrate tumor DNA information to make accurate treatment decisions. For eg. NCCN (National Comprehensive Cancer Network, USA) which publishes treatment guidelines for all cancer for oncologists across the world, published lung cancer guidelines that is 271 pages long. To this, add the complex data of patient’s tumor DNA, various mutation databases, clinical trials and research papers. Modern day oncologist are often overwhelmed. They need tools to simplify and hasten their decision making.
I am a molecular biologist who understands the tumor DNA and the technologies around it. As Chief Scientist (molecular oncology) of Neuberg diagnostic lab, I also write patient DNA reports that guide oncologists to take treatment decisions. While meeting various oncologists and marketing them different DNA tests for different type of cancers, I got acutely aware of the problems oncologists faced. To simplify their decision making, I created algorithms that combined patient’s clinical history, histo-pathology data, molecular test decisions, mutational databases and NCCN guidelines. Subsequently I coded these integrated and complex decision algorithms as Python programs that can be executed from a browser. They are available for free and oncologists are/can use it. Programs in Python for lung cancer and colorectal cancers: https://sites.google.com/view/molecularpathology/programming?authuser=0 My article on need of Python programing for cancer treatment: https://sites.google.com/view/molecularpathology/programming/is-it-time-for-precision-medicine-app?authuser=0
Interest in using programing to resolve healthcare problems in India.
Programs in Python for lung cancer and colorectal cancers: https://sites.google.com/view/molecularpathology/programming?authuser=0
I am a PhD in Biochemistry with significant research experience at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, in the areas of molecular oncology, cardiovascular biology and biology of infectious diseases. Currently, I prepare molecular diagnostic reports for cancer patients as Chief Scientist (Molecular Oncology), Neuberg Center of Genomic Medicine, Ahmedabad.
- Molecular pathology of cancer: https://sites.google.com/view/molecularpathology/home?authuser=0
- The DNA Labs: https://sites.google.com/site/thednalab/ , https://www.facebook.com/TheDNALab , https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCf2HKt1vgjhe8MXbvMSwELg/feed