Give up your data to cure disease

Case in point: Last year, a team led by researchers at the MD Anderson Cancer Center and Washington University found that a common class of heart drugs called beta blockers, which block the effects of adrenaline, may prolong ovarian cancer patients’ survival. This discovery came after the researchers reviewed more than 1,400 patient records, and identified an obvious pattern among those with ovarian cancer who were using beta blockers, most often to control their blood pressure. Women taking earlier versions of this class of drug typically lived for almost eight years after their cancer diagnosis, compared with just three and a half years for the women not taking any beta blocker.

The researchers are now preparing follow-up clinical trials of ovarian cancer patients. My guess is they will confirm the connection.

This information was lying in plain sight, no invasive procedures or testing required. We could have found it years earlier if we had had the data.