'Game changing' cancer database pushes fight against disease forward

Database will include millions of records detailing individual cancers and treatments

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The world's largest cancer database will be launched in the UK today, in what experts are calling a “game-changing” stride forward in the fight against the disease.

Millions of patient records containing detailed information on individual cancers and how they have been treated will be available to specialists around the country, paving the way for highly personalised treatment of individual patients.

“This is game-changing,” Jem Rashbass, who led the project at Public Health England, told The Times. “This puts us at the forefront of cancer care for the next two decades.”

“In effect every cancer patient has a rare disease that is different in some way from another cancer. This allows us to carry out refined searches to see how other tumours have responded to identify the optimum treatment as early as possible.”

The new database, which has been in development for five years, contains information on all 350,000 cancers diagnosed across the 50m people in England.

Data from tissue and tumour samples, information from breast, bowel and cervical cancer screening programmes and radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatment results will all be available in one place. The database will be updated monthly with information from every acute NHS trust.

It will be unveiled at the Cancer Outcomes Conference in Brighton today, hosted by the National Cancer Intelligence Network.