"Cancer maps" could aid in treatment plans

A new computer program called PiCnIc could help doctors imagine where a patient’s cancer might go next, according to NPR. That information could help physicians and patients come up with earlier or even predictive treatment plans.

It takes information from previous medical records and constructs a “map." Out of many scenarios, the program puts together the most likely possibilities in a local region of the body to eventually create a larger map.

Outcomes from consulting the PiCnIc map were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Some physicians and researchers told NPR they believe the program is already “clinically useful.” But others say the program is not yet accurate enough to make individual decisions for specific patients—to them, so far, it’s better for putting together and examining large aggregations of data, such as from the Cancer Genome Atlas.

Check out NPR to see how the smaller regions of cancer data come together to create bigger pictures of likely cancer movement.