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Eli Van Allen: Clinical computational oncology for precision medicine

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Published on Oct 30, 2015

The ability to create increasingly complex genomic data generated directly from patient tumors may impact our understanding of cancer and affect clinical decisions about cancer treatment. As the quantity of genomic data generated from individual cancer patients greatly expands, innovations will be needed to successfully implement large-scale genomics at the point-of-care. These include new ways to 1) interpret large-scale data from individual patients and 2) understand why patients respond (or don't respond) to existing and emerging cancer therapies such as targeted therapies, chemotherapies, and immunotherapies.

In this talk, Dr. Van Allen explores how the emerging discipline of clinical computational oncology is powering new approaches for the clinical interpretation of large-scale genomic data and how these data are helping physicians understand why certain patients benefit from cancer therapies when others do not. While still in its infancy, this new field of clinical computational oncology may drive the widespread implementation of precision cancer medicine in the years to come.

Eli Van Allen, M.D.
A postdoctoral research fellow at the Broad, Eli Van Allen is an Instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School and an oncologist at Dana-Farber/Partners Cancer Care, with a focus on genitourinary cancers. His research melds his background in computer science with cancer genomics in order to develop algorithms that analyze and interpret genomic data to help patients. This research is at the front lines of precision cancer medicine, including understanding why resistance develops and identifying targeted therapies for patients.

A native of Los Angeles, Eli studied Symbolic Systems, an inter-disciplinary major at Stanford University that applies computer science to other academic disciplines, including linguistics and neuroscience. While at Stanford, he helped found Camp Kesem, a summer camp for children whose parents have cancer. This experience sparked his interest in oncology, and as a medical student, he realized that his talents in computer science could help propel advances in the field. (Eli still volunteers at Camp Kesem, which now has locations throughout the United States.)

After graduating from Stanford in 2003, Eli received his M.D. from UCLA, and completed a residency in internal medicine at UCSF before coming to Boston and completing a medical oncology fellowship at the Dana-Farber/Partners Cancer Care program.

Copyright Broad Institute, 2015. All rights reserved.

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