Cancer data collections efforts grow in China

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Two examples of efforts to expand data insights into cancer in China show the potential scope of a national "big data plan" for healthcare for both domestic and foreign players outlined in June--a policy that seeks to standardize patient and clinical data on a massive scale by the end of the decade.

China Daily reported that the National Cancer Institute-run Physician Data Query (PDQ) launched a Chinese version recently as part of an effort to understand standards of care across, to start with, 6 types of cancer--lung, breast, stomach, colon, liver and esophagus.

The information from physician and other sources would come in two versions--one for medical professionals and one for the public, explained He Jie to the China Daily. Jie is head of China's National Cancer Institute, which partnered with its U.S. counterpart to introduce the PDQ in Chinese.

In July, Beijing-based Medbanks Network Technology said it had raised $30 million in a series B round led by e-commerce firm Tencent, joining existing investors Eight Roads Ventures China, F-Prime Capital Partners and Ping An Ventures to build an oncology database using information collected from hospitals and physicians, startup tracking firm CrunchBase reported.

The data gathered is used to track standards of care and patient outcomes for the most prevalent tumor types in China.

Last month, China provided some details on its plans for a big push into big data using standardized methods to bring order to a fragmented federal and provincial regulatory structure in regulation, tenders and state-run hospital and clinic records.

That may benefit operations already in the space, though it is unclear how far China would go to share data with vendors.

In PDQ's case, Zhang Zongjiu, a division director of the National Health and Family Planning Commission, told China Daily the information would add new layers to the study of cancer,

"Related data and information from China will enrich the pool given the vast number of cancer patients here," he said.

In December of last year, the World Health Organization (WHO) said China is rising to the top of the list of countries with the most cancer cases, with treatment costs out of reach for many patients--despite government efforts to force drug prices lower.

- here's the story from China Daily

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