What Is a Cohort Study?

In cancer research, cohort studies play a significant role in understanding key factors that drive disease development and progression as well as the relative efficacy of novel therapies. Cohort studies are typically observational and longitudinal in nature and follow a group of research participants over a long period of time. Such cohorts are developed based on a specific set of criteria. For example, participants may share certain demographic characteristics as well as a disease type for which they are receiving a particular treatment. By providing real-world data, cohort studies generally allow researchers to gather meaningful insights and uncover real-world evidence regarding a disease’s cause and response to treatment.

What Is a Comparator Cohort?

In a clinical trial setting, the efficacy of a treatment is usually measured against a control group that receives a placebo. Comparator cohorts are different in that they typically measure the efficacy of a new therapy or application against an existing, approved treatment. Comparator cohorts can be beneficial in developing more effective treatments for a disease, finding new indications for an existing therapy, and identifying key factors, such as germline and somatic genetic mutations, that drive a specific cancer’s progression.

Challenges Associated with Cohort Studies

Establishing a robust cohort based on highly specific criteria is a time- and cost-intensive process. What’s more, finding an adequate number of qualified participants is often difficult, making cohort studies particularly challenging to set up for rare diseases.

In partnership with the Oncology Research Information Exchange Network® (ORIEN), M2GEN provides researchers with access to comprehensive genomic and longitudinal clinical data from consenting cancer patients—among the largest such registries in the world. These rich, structured datasets can be used to create robust comparator cohorts that satisfy specialized criteria, allowing our partners to perform highly targeted research in an efficient and cost-effective manner.

To learn more about how M2GEN is helping advance cancer research by making it easier than ever to establish cohort studies, contact us today.

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