publication date: Feb. 19, 2021

Guest Editorial

Moffitt Cancer Center: Why we are building the first machine learning department in oncology


Issam El Naqa, PhD

Chair, Department of Machine Learning,

Moffitt Cancer Center



Dana Rollison, PhD

Vice president, chief data officer,

Associate center director of data science,

Division chief, quantitative science

Moffitt Cancer Center


Imagine a future where cancer patients are able to receive the treatment they precisely need and not the treatment that is prescribed to all.

Personalized medicine has advanced over recent decades, but is still limited by the ability to navigate the complex landscape of patient information and tumor-specific parameters that need to be incorporated into optimizing treatment decisions. 

Eliminating cancer mortality will only be possible through cancer prevention and treatment tailored not only to molecular aspects of a (pre-)malignancy, but also to the microenvironment, genetics and physiology of the patient, lifestyle factors, environmental exposures, social determinants of the patient’s health and the dynamic changes of these parameters over time.

Such a future is possible at the intersection of recent advances in computer engineering, data science and cancer research.

Conventional approaches to unraveling the complexity of tumor biology have historically focused on simple factors operating within a single scale. Advances in imaging and biotechnology have … Continue reading Moffitt Cancer Center: Why we are building the first machine learning department in oncology

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