Research IT

Technology makes light work of hard decisions

One of our research software engineers (RSE), Rob Dunne, has been embedded in a team working to facilitate decision-making for cancer patients who may benefit from experimental treatments in early clinical trials.

The digital Experimental Cancer Medicine Team (digitalECMT) is based within the Cancer Research UK (CRUK) Manchester Institute and aligned with The Christie. The aim of this team is to innovate and apply digital science to transform decision-making​.

Rob has been working on the eTARGET project since April 2017 and has been building a system to aggregate both clinical and genomic patient data from different sources. The eTARGET beta version went live in October 2017.

As part of the TARGET trial (molecular profiling of circulating tumour DNA to stratify patients to early clinical trials), a Molecular Tumour Board (MTB) of over 15 attendees, holds monthly meetings to discuss patients being treated for cancer that have limited treatment options. All patients have undergone tumour biopsies, processed by the Manchester Centre for Genomic Medicine at St Marys Hospital and blood biopsies processed by CRUK MI, to identify potential gene types that may be relevant to new treatments.

Rob has built a system to aggregate data from different sources, showing in a single view, patient characteristics, treatment history and genomic data. This aids the MTB decisions around linking patients with experimental treatments. Decisions can also be logged and all attendees, whether in the meeting room in person or joining remotely, can see the same information at the same time.

eTarget is a visualisation that allows the MTB to review results in an integrated manner and improve the quality of decision making for patients” Professor Andrew Hughes, Clinical Lead, Manchester Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre.

If you would like to find out more about our work with the digitalECMT, come along to the Research IT Club on the 21st of February.

If you would like to have a research software engineer input to your research project, please get in touch or see our website for more information.