Cancer Informatics: Essential Technologies for Clinical Trials


JS Silva et al
Published by Springer (2002)
ISBN:  0-3879-5328-0.  367 pages plus index.
RRP:  US$79.95

People running cancer trials should read this book. It is about the US National Cancer Institute’s plans to “liberate cancer trials from paper”.

The authors’ thesis is that “advanced information technologies and concurrent process enhancements will transform clinical trials, just as they have transformed businesses”. The aim is to get better treatments into practice faster.

Richard Klausner championed the need for a cancer informatics infrastructure to enable clinical research and to link it to the delivery of cancer care.  He took this on as a task for the US National Cancer Institute (NCI).

Although the issues needed to be addressed for all aspect of the National Cancer Research Program, the US NCI decided to make clinical trials the centrepiece and starting point. The book’s editors were part of a team that met to assist the early formulation and implementation of the principles of the cancer informatics infrastructure.

The sections describe lessons from e-commerce – development of standards, common data elements, forms and terminology; integration with public health informatics and research; clinical trials information systems; and consumer education and support. The chapters were written by leading US experts. The content is detailed, technical, and surprisingly well-written. They give a clear vision of how cancer trials are likely to develop over the next 20 years.

This book is informative, interesting, and (I’m embarrassed to admit) enjoyable.

M Stockler
NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre
Camperdown, NSW

Be the first to know when a new issue is online. Subscribe today.