A project called The Billion Genome Project (BGP) was deployed to use Big Data based on survey processes on the genetic data of 7 billion people on Earth.
The data about DNA’s sequence and information about biotechnology are changing entirely, which will open to us a whole new approach.
The truth was that no two tumors in the body of patients had the same genetic defect. Furthermore, in 2014, a study of gene sequence in breast cancer cells did not find any cancer cell in the same tumor was similar in the gene sequence to each other.
Although both use Big Data, the data supporting cancer treatments are not as simple as those we use in mobile apps. Biology is more complex than anything people could imagine.
Tumors also have the ability to resist drug. So we need to have access to the DNA sequence of tumors to always be active in the treatment process. In January 2015, Roche, a global health care company and the most powerful pharmaceutical company specializing in cancer research in the world, based in Switzerland, spent more than $ 1 billion to buy a half of the total shares of a small company called Foundation Medicine.
The value of Foundation Medicine is in the information it is holding. Roche wanted to access to the Big Data database of Medicine Foundation, including the DNA sequence of tumors of over 35 thousand cancer patients, accompanied by information about the drugs they have used and its effects on these patients.
So how can Roche benefit from this business? The traditional cancer treatments extremely lack of information. The cancer is classified and treated based on the part of developing cancer, cell shape, etc. Although these classifications become more detailed in recent years, they are still too general.
After sending records of cancer patients to Foundation Medicine, the company will check among 300 known mutations. This information will help us to determine the exact type of mutation that needs to be treated with appropriate drugs.
One of the 35 thousand people in Foundation Medicine's data is Corey Wood. She was only 22 years old and was diagnosed with cancer just a few weeks after her graduation.
Her information was sent to Foundation Medicine and the experts here discovered a flaw in her ROS-1 gene, which can be treated by using Xalcori drugs, this drug inactivates cell with mutated genes. Less than 2% of lung cancer patients are in this situation, so the doctor would never give her this drug without detailed information about the genetic mutation. Corey Wood started using drugs in 3 months and her cancer almost disappeared.
Last February, doctors in Medicine Foundation announced that she was officially off sick. Corey Wood and her family could not hide the joy and the tears when being interviewed by The Guardian: "I have beaten my lung cancer thanks to the doctors at Foundation Medicine and those who have studied the concept of Big Data."
Big Data is a perfect piece to complete the picture of the future Medicine. With Big Data, let’s see how the world will change and how many patients will be saved.