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Toward an Integrated Knowledge Environment to Support Modern Oncology

Blake, Patrick M.*; Decker, David A. MD, FACP†‡; Glennon, Timothy M. PhD*; Liang, Yong Michael PhD*; Losko, Sascha PhD§; Navin, Nicholas PhD∥**; Suh, K. Stephen PhD

doi: 10.1097/PPO.0b013e31822c390b
Review Articles

Around the world, teams of researchers continue to develop a wide range of systems to capture, store, and analyze data including treatment, patient outcomes, tumor registries, next-generation sequencing, single-nucleotide polymorphism, copy number, gene expression, drug chemistry, drug safety, and toxicity. Scientists mine, curate, and manually annotate growing mountains of data to produce high-quality databases, while clinical information is aggregated in distant systems. Databases are currently scattered, and relationships between variables coded in disparate datasets are frequently invisible. The challenge is to evolve oncology informatics from a "systems" orientation of standalone platforms and silos into an "integrated knowledge environments" that will connect "knowable" research data with patient clinical information. The aim of this article is to review progress toward an integrated knowledge environment to support modern oncology with a focus on supporting scientific discovery and improving cancer care.

From the *Sophic Systems Alliance Inc, East Falmouth, MA; †Florida Hospital Cancer Institute, ‡University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL; §Biomax Informatics AG, Planegg, Germany; ¶The John Theurer Cancer Center, Hackensack University Medical Center, Hackensack, NJ; ∥MD Anderson Cancer Center, **Department of Genetics and Department of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, Houston, TX.

Conflicts of Interest and Sources of Funding: P.M.B. is the Chief Executive Officer of Sophie Systems Inc.; T.M.G. scientific software project leader, Sophie Systems Alliance Inc.; Y.M.L. principal investigator, Sophie Systems Alliance Inc.; and S.L., Head of Product Management, Biomax Informatics AG.

Reprints: Patrick M. Blake, Sophic Systems Alliance Inc, POB 968, East Falmouth, MA 02536. E-mail:

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.