New professional profiles for personalized medicine

DAILYPHARMA | 03.05.2022 – 18:24

The Conference Oncology and bioinformatics: the importance of data in clinical application, held by the Aula Roche-Universidad Politécnica de Valencia (UPV), has highlighted the need to incorporate new professional profiles into health systems and the importance of reorganizing health care

In the course of the conference, presented and conducted by the director of the Roche-UPV Classroom, José María Sempere, some lines of research in genomics and bioinformatics that are being developed in the field of cancer, and the challenges and demands that arise from the clinical field.

Bartomeu Massuti, head of the Medical Oncology Service at the Alicante General Hospital, explained how precision medicine “changes the clinical practice scenario in such a way that not only is a reorganization of care necessary, but also a rethinking of our drug approval system. It is necessary that, with proven and reliable phase I results, we can have approvals conditional on real-life data”.

Massuti assures that, for this to be a reality, it is necessary to have studies that contain a greater number of data. “The data exists, there are records, studies and trials. The problem is that they are not connected to each other. It would be ideal to have computer programs that combine all this data in an automated way, homogeneous and integrated systems at the national level, reliable, with quality controls and that allow data extraction to be carried out in an automated way”.

In the opinion of this expert, precision medicine is halfway between genomics and data analysis, an aspect in which Dr. Valentina Gambardella, a researcher at the Institute of Biomedical Research (INCLIVA), agrees, who has underlined that the best The way to implement excellent, efficient and effective health care is to incorporate precision medicine into the health system as a first-line tool. “These therapies can change the development of the tumor; precision medicine does not have to be reserved only for patients who have already exhausted the rest of the treatment routes, it has to be the first line option”, she assures.

According to Gambardella, all diseases should be treated as rare, since “this would mean that we are applying all the knowledge that precision medicine is generating.” The expert has highlighted innumerable cancer research models focused on aspects that go beyond the affected organ or the type of tumor.

“The Umbrella or Basket assays allow us to analyze mutations that can open up important lines of research. If we only analyze what we know, and we always do it in the same way, we will not enrich the investigation. In addition, if we focus only on certain alterations for which we already have approval, we lose capacity when it comes to offering a therapeutic alternative for compassionate use”.

In relation to the importance of increasing the number of data collected and exploiting the possibilities of combining them, Dr. Nuria López-Bigas, a researcher at the Barcelona Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB), asserts that “although there are some tens of thousands of genomes available for research, most data is currently being generated in clinical settings and is not available for research. With data on mutations in thousands of tumors, we have shown that we can learn artificial intelligence models that tell us which mutations are causing cancer.”

The expert assures that the objective must be “to design an artificial intelligence model that allows simulating the process that occurs in the mutations that lead to cancer and, from there, make new combinations that help predict what the evolution could be. .” However, he agrees again in emphasizing that “both the volume of data, as well as the performance of a complex and complete exercise of interpretation and analysis of the same, is essential to be able to turn these programs into real tools that help clinicians in the decision making”.

During his speech, Dr. Fernando Martín, research professor at the Carlos III Health Institute, clarified that in order for these data analyzes to be used efficiently in health matters, they should also include geographic, environmental, family data, etc. “To make the use of personalized medicine a reality, it will be necessary to have data based on two criteria: equity and diversity”, he assured. At the moment, as this expert explained, there are pioneering and promising projects, both in the United States and in Europe, that have managed to overcome many different challenges, including diverse medical histories, non-homogeneous computer systems, or very disparate approaches. “The use of applications, wearable devices, smart watches, etc., is already part of the most relevant data collection trials and projects,” explains Dr. Martín. “Technology in all its expressions is part of the practice of medicine, and for this reason it is important that our country begins to develop regulated training for this type of professional, as is already happening in other countries,” he says.

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