The following is a guest blog post from a prostate cancer e-patient dedicated towards making clinical trials easier to find for patients:
Hello my name is Joel Shapiro. I have prostate cancer and I'm a Python (computer language) programmer. I've used my Python computer experience and expertise to craft what I contend is an unprecedented, ultimate program / application that I've named "SearchSpecifics" for finding the latest and greatest news and information for treatments of any disease or condition and clinical trial (CT) matching which of course is the primary focus of this blog.
I know my bold claims here have all the trappings and indications of yet another (yawn) enthusiastic sales pitch claiming their product whatever it may be will give (you) the buyer the best experience in its area. Furthermore I can see, and totally understand where I add that I'm going to be soon formally releasing SearchSpecifics in its totality and other Python programs adjunct files not essential to any of its basic operations and all revisions and updates TOTALLY FREE into the world public domain under the tenets of a least restrictive Creative Commons license; it reeks of scam and bait and switch.
Via my initial blog here and the many more I envision coming after it, as I begin my quest not to be over-dramatic the mission of my life; you'll be able to follow right along with me finding clinical trials that apply to you in your clinical trial searching in plain language that a 5th grader can understand whether you have a life-threatening disease like mine or one that severely affects the quality of it.
In my first blog here I'm trying to build the foundation for my future blogs. Besides of course describing current and possible future operational features and functionalities SearchSpecifics especially with respect to clinical trial (CT) matching, there are what I feel are other fundamental underlying concepts, approaches and "new ways of thinking that are essential for my SearchSpecifics app to reach its full potential and efficacy.
My first strong conviction for SearchSpecifics to reach its full potential is it can ONLY be accomplished by a worldwide grassroots collaborative effort with SearchSpecifics at the core. In my future blogs I’ll elaborate why my SearchSpecifics app is essential.
Consider SearchSpecifics not just as an app or program in the standard sense but a powerful, flexible Python programming and developmental environment that can accept data from the field in all kinds of different formats and import them into a desired standard one like a sieve, realize suggested new features and functionalities in record time, sometimes even on the fly and much more.
Suffice it now to say without the invention of Python by Guido van Rossum supported by millions of users (“"Pythonistas") in a grassroots collaborative effort I'll be trying to emulate, SearchSpecifics simply couldn't exist even with the wide variety of computer programming languages "out there" nothing else appears to be even remotely adequate.
If you're a Python programmer and need some Python code for something as simple as say removing all the double spaces in block of text to something as complex as a Python module that performs automated keystrokes and mouse movements; ... it's probably already posted on the Internet somewhere either on a webpage and/or GitHub; the defacto world standard for programming coding and applications exchange. I ultimately intend to post SearchSpecifics on GitHub but first I want to get it established on my own webpage(s).
So if you are a Python programmer the first rule of order is before you type the first character to code for a DIY (do it yourself) functionality or objective; you ALWAYS! look to see what's out there! I find in almost all cases the coding is more efficient and elegant than what I would come up with.
Here in a good sense you're tapping off of someone else's work. You’re wasting your time constantly reinventing the wheel. I mention all of this as it's is a critical mindset or premise with respect to SearchSpecifics; one that make makes it -inherently- the ultimate clinical trial matching tool which I'll soon be discussing.
To start the "SearchSpecifics collaborative" rolling I want to reiterate and emphasize I'm releasing SearchSpecifics main, and ALL of the adjunct apps, one-off scripts, data and files that have and haven’t anything to do with clinical trial matching.
When I related my intentions here to my good friends and family they asked me incredulously: "Joel! You're going to release all of the work you've done creating your SearchSpecifics app and EVERYTHING else;... and all you ask in return is a pittance from anyone who wishes to contribute to you any amount money totally at their discretion through your GoFundMe page so you can continue to release all of your best work??(!)
Are you serious they ask? Yes, I'm serious and not to be over-dramatic I'm betting my life on it. Perhaps as a result of releasing everything setting off the worldwide collaboration I have in mind I might find a clinical trial with drug(s) that attacks my prostate cancer directly. Thus perhaps devil's bargain with Lupron and Zytiga that with all their horrible side effects could end! It could well be I could never have found that trial just by myself.
Lastly, while individual standalone applications with no dependencies can be realized within the SearchSpecifics infrastructure, where SearchSpecifics separates itself from others is the ability I programmed into it to “integrate” ALL other web pages, local apps and APIs immediately tapping all of their resources.
Now all energy and effects can be focused on created new features and functionalities enhancing those you’ve integrated or creating new ones. So your first inclination; your new way of thinking should from now on not be duplicate what you see but integrate what you see!
This is a very powerful ability! At first glance perhaps this may seem trivial but it’s not as this video of SearchSpecifics in action demonstrates. In my future blogs I’ll be explaining the significance of what you’re seeing if it’s not immediately apparent: