Lack Of Cohesive National Health Records Database Stymies Cancer Research
The Dana Farber Cancer Institute has invested millions of dollars into determining the genetic sequences of patients’ tumors, but until patients’ medical records are linked to the genetic data, life-or-death questions cannot be answered.
When Working For The U.S. Government Is A Cancer Risk
Located on the National Mall just steps from the Washington Monument, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s imposing headquarters include employees who monitor the health and safety of America’s food supply. But some people who work there are beginning to worry about their health. According to a union representing USDA employees, officials are exposing them to risks from cancer-causing asbestos and lead paint. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration opened a probe of the building March 29 in response to an employee complaint. The union accused management of failing to provide sufficient notice about asbestos and lead abatement or to maintain secure, sealed physical barriers between ongoing work and staff at nearby desks. (Eidelson, 5/22)
In other news —
The New York Times:
New Cancer Treatments Lie Hidden Under Mountains Of Paperwork
Dr. Nikhil Wagle thought he had a brilliant idea to advance research and patient care. Dr. Wagle, an oncologist at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, and his colleagues would build a huge database that linked cancer patients’ medical records, treatments and outcomes with their genetic backgrounds and the genetics of their tumors. The database would also include patients’ own experiences. How ill did they feel with the treatments? What was their quality of life? The database would find patterns that would tell doctors what treatment was best for each patient and what patients might expect. (Kolata, 5/21)