Research Update from Dr. Ashirbani Saha 

Hello BRIGHT Run Family, 

I have a research update for you. You already know that we are working on building a Learning Health System (LHS) for breast cancer using the data from the Juravinski Cancer Centre (JCC).  

An LHS is developed with the goal of improving the quality of healthcare and services provided. LHS resembles a continuous cyclical process to be able to consistently improve care. 

To put it simply, think about an athlete willing to improve their performance. They practice and take part in the competitions, learn from the mistakes/shortcomings and even successes (to know that some changes are working), learn from peers and emerging scientific knowledge about the sport, and utilize those in the next practice/competition. This forms a loop with the goal of improving performance and it is likely to continue until the athlete retires. 

Similarly, in an LHS, scientific evidence improves the care, and then, again, evidence from the care provided (through internal and external data sources) drives the production of new evidence which is fed back to the system to improve care. 

Last May, I wrote to you about the Breast Cancer LHS formed using the data from the breast cancer patients at the JCC.  CREATE (Center for Data Science and Digital Health) team members at Hamilton Health Sciences, clinicians and researchers in the Department of Oncology, and Pentavere (the industry partner) worked under the leadership of Dr.  Mark Levine and Dr. Jeremy Petch to form the foundation of the breast cancer LHS. 

The research update I have relates to the evidence we noted from this LHS. The evidence aligns with the typical statistics, such as higher prevalence of patients with invasive ductal carcinoma. We saw that during Covid-19, the duration of radiation was shortened. We also found that lower-income patients had higher mortality rates. 

Our LHS is automated; it pulls raw data from multiple sources, filters the information through AI, and tabulates it. We are very happy to find that such an automated process aligns with the expected trends of data.  

You can read the full paper here: Breast cancer learning health system: Patient information from a data and analytics platform characterizes care provided – Levine – Learning Health Systems – Wiley Online Library 

We are working on improving the system by adapting it to the changes in the data sources used and by adding more data. As you know, this is a continuous process. This will not cease until we eradicate breast cancer. Your continuous participation in breast cancer research, through supporting BRIGHT Run, will help in reaching that goal. 

Stay well and enjoy the BRIGHT sunny days.