Dr. C.K. Wang and Dr. Ming He Discuss COVID-19’s Impact on Cancer Research

In this episode of Real World Talk, host Kevin Keogh speaks with Dr. CK Wang, COTA’s Chief Medical Officer, and Dr. Ming He, our Senior Medical Director — the “internal and external medical voices of the company.”

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  • Kevin Keogh introduces Dr. CK Wang, COTA’s Chief Medical Officer, and Dr. Ming He, the Senior Medical Director. Dr. Wang and Dr. He discuss their backgrounds in science and medicine and their roles at COTA.
  • During COVID-19, clinical trials have been difficult, if not impossible, to execute, and Dr. Wang explains how using real-world data can help.
  • The doctors talk about how COVID-19 has made it difficult for medical providers to effectively communicate with patients and provide the best care.
  • Dr. Wang outlines the potential long-term effects of COVID-19 on patient care, including delays in cancer screenings and treatments.
  • Doctors traditionally take a hands-on approach with patients, but Dr. He talks about how they’ve had to adapt since COVID-19, and she hopes it’ll lead to more universal telemedicine standards.
  • Dr. Wang explains why he decided to transition from a general oncologist to a specialized practice.
  • Dr. He agrees specialized oncology has become more common and explains how the evolution of cancer care has shaped this trend.
  • As more and more targeted therapies emerge, Dr. He emphasizes the importance of using data, especially in smaller communities.
  • Dr. Wang explains COTA’s disease-specific data dictionary and how it’ll continue to evolve with cancer research.
  • Looking forward, Dr. Wang addresses some potential challenges to curating data, including the nonstandard format doctors use to document patient information.
  • Dr. He emphasizes the need for a standard electronic medical record (EMR) that includes clinical results documentation.

Key Points

  • COVID-19 has affected clinical trials and cancer treatments. Due to social distancing, clinical trials have been delayed, and cancer screenings and treatments have been put on hold. If more doctors could tap into real-world data, it could be leveraged to help find solutions for patients during this time.
  • Oncology has become more specialized over the past decade, which means more practitioners would benefit from a centralized database. This is due, in part, to an increase in targeted drug therapies. As more and more of these therapies are developed, doctors will have more and more options. Having access to a national database of patient information can help them seek the best treatments.
  • Challenges involved with collecting medical data persist. For example, many doctors have their own shorthand. Plus, EMRs don’t require doctors to report clinical results. However, this could be a simple fix and something doctors would quickly get used to.


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