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I’ve really enjoyed seeing the Cancer Research UK Stratified Medicine Programme getting so much coverage around the globe. This initiative will blaze the trail for the wider adoption of genetic testing to support diagnosis and treatment of various cancers including breast, colorectal, lung, prostate, ovarian and skin cancer.

The 2 year program will see 9,000 samples and associated clinical data systematically captured and genetically tested for known cancer variants with a view to building a comprehensive warehouse of cancer data. This will then form a research resource to better understand the genetic basis for diagnosis and disease treatment, and in the future support clinical decision-making.

The Cancer Research UK project is part of a larger Stratified Medicines Innovation Platform funded by the Technology Strategy Board and other bodies to advance personalised medicine in the UK.

We at IDBS are proud to be leading one of these projects, designed to support industry and academic collaboration in stratified medicines based on high quality, longitudinal patient information and associated genetics. The Acropolis project will focus on the secure infrastructure to analyse and share this data, leading to improved disease understanding and patient outcomes.

We wish the project team well because this is by no means a trivial undertaking and highlights many of the difficulties faced by academic medical centres around the world in bringing together critical data to support translational medicine research.

The project team face many challenges in bringing these disparate data sets together, not least of which is capturing patient data from the clinical systems it is stored in. This information is frequently distributed across electronic medical records, laboratory systems, PACs and cancer information systems requiring sophisticated informatics to extract the source data and format it consistently. Information governance and protected health information compliance are also key areas to address as is integration with biobanks and incorporation of genetic tests results from standardised procedures.

We will be cheering our sister project on and continuing to provide support to the Cancer Research UK team as we begin the journey towards personalised medicine in the UK.