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Big Data for Breast Cancer Symposium Provides Forum for Technology, Medicine and Advocacy Experts to Advance Breast Cancer Research, Treatment

Ambassador Nancy Brinker

(Business Wire) – International health and technology leaders will join key players from the fields of cancer research, clinical care and patient advocacy for the first Big Data for Breast Cancer (BD4BC) Symposium October 8 and 9 at Rockefeller University convened by the Susan G. Komen® breast cancer organization with support provided by a grant from the Robertson Foundation.

“The era of complex data in healthcare is here and with it an unprecedented ability to collect genomic, clinical, epidemiological and molecular data from sources that include electronic medical records, mobile apps, wearables, sensors and clinical trials databases using high-throughput measurements and powerful computing,” said Komen President and CEO Dr. Judith A. Salerno. “The challenge is to ask questions and analyze the amount of data collected daily to improve outcomes for breast cancer patients and benefit research.”

This first Big Data symposium focusing on breast cancer evolved from discussions between the chief scientific advisors of Komen’s Scientific Advisory Board – George W. Sledge, Jr., MD, Chief, Division of Oncology at Stanford University Medical Center and Eric P. Winer, MD, Director, Breast Oncology Program, Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

By convening BD4BC, Komen hopes to create an international community capable of merging genomics and electronic health records and using these data to improve breast cancer research and clinical care. “Having built a global community around breast cancer as the largest non-governmental funder of breast cancer research ($889M), it is only natural that once again Komen is leading the way in understanding and anticipating the next leap forward in breast cancer – the use of Big Data,” said Nancy Brinker, founder of Susan G. Komen.

“We want to go beyond our usual role of identifying the best science,” said Dr. Winer. “By convening this conference and bringing top experts together, we are hoping to influence how Big Data can be used to answer questions and, ultimately, improve health outcomes.”

Because Dr. Sledge, who is a past president of ASCO (American Society for Clinical Oncology), has seen how research can be spurred by casual conversations at meetings and away from the work environment, he knew the structure of the meeting was important. “Very productive conversations occur when one researcher approaches another and asks ‘what are you working on?’”

They thought a small meeting of key leaders from fields that intersect but might not interact would benefit from an opportunity to gather informally but in structured meetings. Thursday’s agenda consists of lectures by experts in clinical informatics, electronic health records, bio-ethics and policy, genomics technology, epidemiology and patient advocacy. On Friday, the participants join self-selected working groups culminating in a summary of the sessions and recommendations.

The unique design of the symposium drew support from The Robertson Foundation. “The idea of starting a dialogue between experts in technology, cancer research and oncology – people who aren’t usually in the same room together – has the potential to create a synergy of ideas that could ultimately lead to improvements in outcomes for breast cancer patients,” said Julian H. Robertson, founder of the Robertson Foundation.

About Susan G. Komen®

Susan G. Komen is the world’s largest breast cancer organization, funding more breast cancer research than any other nonprofit while providing real-time help to those facing the disease. Since its founding in 1982, Komen has funded more than $889 million in research and provided $1.95 billion in funding to screening, education, treatment and psychosocial support programs serving millions of people in more than 30 countries worldwide. Komen was founded by Nancy G. Brinker, who promised her sister, Susan G. Komen, that she would end the disease that claimed Suzy’s life. Visit komen.org or call 1-877 GO KOMEN. Connect with us on social at ww5.komen.org/social.

About The Robertson Foundation

The Robertson Foundation aspires to utilize a pro-active, disciplined grant-making approach to measurably affect significant social change in the principal areas of education, the environment, and medical research. To learn more visit: www.robertsonfoundation.org.

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