big data in medicine

Big Data in Medicine



cell provide molecular
tumor target (2) marker (3)
ideal precision supersede
likely effective determine
genetic identify characteristic
select research treatment (2)
big data improve collaborate
cancer analysis pathology
data database generate (2)
clinical check (2) experiment
patient basis (2) collect (2)
result compare worldwide
sample store (2) produce (2)
specific tailor (2) recommend
contain based on personalize
hope therapy sequencing
receive decision revolutionary (2)
access cautious controversial
afraid diagnosis understandable (2)
keep do away manage (2)


Video: Big Data in Medicine




This is a tumor cell, which has specific molecular markers: no two tumor cells are the same, and ideally, therapies will be targeted to them.

Precision medicine helps determine which therapies are likely to be most effective. Researchers identify the tumor’s genetic characteristics to select a targeted treatment.

Dr. Claudia Vollbrecht from Berlin’s Charite Hospital is using Big Data to improve cancer treatment. She’s collaborating with the molecular health analysis company.

Dr. Claudia Vollbrecht, Molecular Pathologist, Charite University Hospital: “Data is generated worldwide through various clinical studies and research experiments, and then collected in data bases, for example.

Molecular health checks these data bases regularly, on a daily basis, and compares the results with those from the patient’s samples.”

To get such results, tumor cells’ molecular markers are analyzed in a process called sequencing. Doctors at the Charite send the results to molecular health.

The tumor cells’ molecular markers are compared with those of thousands upon thousands of others stored in the company’s database. The database also contains information about therapies.

A report is produced that provides doctors with a recommended treatment, tailored to the specific characteristics of the tumor cell.

Dr. Claudia Vollbrecht, Molecular Pathologist, Charite University Hospital: “This is what we are looking for. It’s the direction we hope things will go in the future. We’d like patients to receive personalized treatment based on molecular changes we can identify during sequencing.”

The idea behind the project is revolutionary.

But using data from so many people as the basis for medical decisions, and possibly superseding the diagnosis from the patient’s doctor is also controversial.

Dr. Claudia Vollbrecht, Molecular Pathologist, Charite University Hospital: “In Germany, people are still quite cautious. We’re afraid to give others access to our data, which is understandable.

As a researcher, I’d like to manage my own data, and know exactly what is happening to it.

But I think we must do away with this idea of keeping it all to ourselves; the amount of data is just too large for that.”

Big Data has already allowed Berlin’s Cherite Hospital to identify individual therapies for some thirty cancer patients.

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1. All cancer cells are identical. True or false?

2. Are all cancer treatments equally effective for all types of cancers? Do all cancer treatments work equally well for all types of cancers?

3. In the video, physicians consult medical textbooks and manuals. Is this right or wrong?

4. Does each hospital only refer to their own individual, private database?

5. Do doctors rely only on conventional measurements like body temperature, blood pressure, pulse, blood and urine tests to make a complete diagnoses?

6. The databases only identifies and makes diagnosis. Is this correct or incorrect?

7. Does everyone totally agree with and accept big data in making diagnosis and recommending treatments and therapies?


A. Cancer is a serious problem. What do you think? What causes cancer? How can cancer be prevented, treated or cured?

B. Big data and artificial intelligence will solve everything. Do you agree?

C. Can the power of big data be abused?

D. What might happen in the future?

E. Should people and doctors do anything differently? What should people do?

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