Cedars-Sinai puts database to work on cancer

By Healthcare IT News
12:00 AM

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center has a radically new database to use in its research on prostate cancer.

A content database will serve as a centralized repository to hold information that can be searched, correlated and updated in the complex task of matching patients with clinical trials.

The database, recently unveiled by Mark Logic, a San Mateo, Calif.-based application developer, is expected to get a thorough test at Cedars-Sinai, one of the largest clinical trial facilities in the country.

If successful, the approach could be replicated by other healthcare organizations that want to conduct sophisticated research involving vast quantities of information.

"It's going to be the future," said Dr. David Agus, research director for the Louis Warschaw Prostate Cancer Center at Cedars-Sinai. "As we move toward more and more computerization of medical records, we'll be able to mine it. We'll be able to put up clinical trials quicker and find what therapies are most appropriate for patients."

The research center needed a database that could contain a wide range of information, ranging from patient data to molecular and genomic information. In clinical trial research, vast amounts of useful information are often untapped because it exists in different formats and is scattered in different systems.

That's the specialty of Mark Logic's Content Interaction Server. It enables Cedars-Sinai to rapidly develop applications that accommodate large amounts of clinical information physician-users can change, update and add to the database.

The new version of the application, released in March, uses extensible markup language and enables the facility to use data "as is" without having to adapt it to fit a database structure. It can scale to sort through vast quantities of data, typical of quantitative blood protein analysis.

The database integrates with clinical trials software from Phase Forward, a Waltham, Mass.-based company, and Cedars-Sinai's laboratory database, Agus said.

Patients seeking to participate in clinical trials may fill out a 30-page questionnaire, then provide biologic samples. The database can take the patient information, protonomic and genomic information, and researchers then can cull through it.

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