01 November 2012: ITFoM-supported publication: Insight - Crunching the numbers to boost odds against cancer

Software engineers are moving to the fore in the war on cancer, designing programmes that sift genetic sequencing data at lightning speed and minimal cost to identify patterns in tumours that could lead to the next medical breakthrough.

Hans Lehrach at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin says every single tumour should be seen as an "orphan disease", using a term for rare illnesses that typically prompt drug regulators to make drug approval easier.

He has designed a software he describes as a virtual patient. It suggests a drug or a mix of drugs based on each tumour's genetic fingerprint. A single case can take several days to be processed.

The article is accessible here