Precision medicine in the era of information: Are we being precise enough? 

|
|

From the way we consume social media, to how we use apps to find our way around, we are living in a data-driven world. The data revolution, combined with a gradual shift towards patient centricity, is pushing medicine to be more precise than ever before.  

Precision medicine mainly relies on molecular genetic testing and bioinformatics to help clinicians identify the most effective drugs for individual patients.(1-3) But is precision medicine living up to what it set out to do, or are there fundamental challenges keeping it from reaching its full potential? 

What is precision medicine? 

Precision medicine is an approach to patient care and drug development that integrates the individual’s genetic, medical, environmental, and sociological information to find the most safe and effective treatment for them.(1,4)  

One of the first examples of precision medicine was the discovery of blood types at the beginning of the 20th century, enabling physicians to make successful blood transfusions.(1) More recent advances in precision medicine have led to treatment options for specific genomic profiles, which are being used for many cancers and conditions such as cystic fibrosis and spinal muscular atrophy.(1,5,6) 

How precision medicine is changing cancer treatment 

The inherent heterogeneity of tumors, related to varying somatic or germline mutations, makes it almost impossible to find a one-size-fits-all solution for cancer.(5) Precision medicine shifts the focus to the characterization of the tumor at the molecular and cellular levels,(7) targeting the specific biomarkers for its growth and ultimately eliciting a treatment response when standard-of-care therapies do not.(8) By suppressing the abnormal expression of the proteins responsible for tumor growth,(3) precision medicine interventions have proven to be the only effective options that some patients with lung, breast, gastrointestinal, and other types of cancers have to reduce their disease burden and improve their quality of life.(5) 

CAR T-cell therapy is an example of a precision-medicine approach that is revolutionizing cancer treatment in a way that, until recently, would have sounded like science fiction: T cells are collected from the patient and modified with lab-produced chimeric antigen receptors (CARs); these proteins make the T cells more precise so that they bind specifically to cancer cells and eliminate them.(9)  

Main challenges of precision medicine  

Integration and standardization of multi-omics data  

Analyzing complex data can be difficult, especially when genetic sequencing generates such huge amounts of data.(10) The advancement of information systems allows us to store more data than ever before, but we need to start using the data more wisely, which is possible with the help of artificial intelligence. Machine learning algorithms can make clinical phenotyping and disease prediction easier, but the results need to be validated by both clinicians and data scientists.(11) Other challenges related to the integration of data include guaranteeing equity in data generation and treatment, providing technological literacy to patients and healthcare practitioners, and ensuring universal access to digital resources.(10) 

Establishing standardized protocols and guidelines for data collection, analysis, and interpretation is key for generating reproducible results in the development of precision therapies.(10) Reliable data depend on the accuracy of the whole data-gathering process, including laboratory handling of samples, whose quality can deeply impact the final result.(10)  

Access to genetic sequencing 

Sequencing methodologies have become very efficient in the last decades but remain costly as they require specialized personnel and equipment,(1) making routine genetic screening unattainable for some healthcare practitioners.(8,12) Even when there is access, it may be restricted to one or two technologies that don’t allow physicians to fully understand the genetic profile of the patient.(3,5) Ultimately, this can mean that patients miss out on therapeutic options that could improve their outcomes.  

Cost-effectiveness of precision medicine therapies 

Developing advanced drugs that can only be used by a small percentage of patients significantly raises their cost, limiting access for hospitals, health services, and patients.(8,12) But precision medicine can be cost-effective in the long term, because matching a patient to the most appropriate treatment can reduce the number of treatments used and the costs related to managing adverse events.(12)  

The future of precision medicine 

Despite setbacks, precision medicine has advanced immensely in recent years, with applications reaching many therapeutic areas. The scientific and medical communities recognize its challenges, mainly related to data management and collection, but have strived to keep evolving this field. Precision medicine is here to stay, and we are safe to assume that soon it will be applied to almost everything healthcare related. 

As the treatment paradigm evolves to become more precise, so too does our understanding of what challenges need to be overcome to help precision medicine live up to its potential. At Scientific Group, we have had the opportunity to contribute to increasing the medical community’s understanding of various precision-medicine therapies, including cancer treatments for specific genomic alternations, viral vector gene therapies, and cell-based gene-therapy approaches such as CAR T-cell therapy. Communicating such complex treatments is a challenge, and one we are pleased to be playing a part in to help advance the potential of precision medicine to improve the lives of patients.  

References 

  1. MacEachern SJ, Forkert ND. Machine learning for precision medicine. Genome 2021;64:416–25.
  2. Canzoneri R et al. Genomics and bioinformatics as pillars of precision medicine in oncology. Medicina (B Aires) 2019;79(Spec 6/1):587–92. 
  3. Peck RW. Precision medicine is not just genomics: The right dose for every patient. Annu Rev Pharmacol Toxicol 2018;58:105–22. 
  4. Beger RD et al. Current concepts in pharmacometabolomics, biomarker discovery, and precision medicine. Metabolites 2020;10(4):129. 
  5. Krzyszczyk P et al. The growing role of precision and personalized medicine for cancer treatment. Technology (Singap World Sci) 2018;6(3–4):79–100. 
  6. Goetz LH, Schork NJ. Personalized medicine: motivation, challenges, and progress. Fertil Steril 2018;109:952–63. 
  7. Yates LR et al. The European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Precision Medicine Glossary. Ann Oncol 2018;29(1):30–35.  
  8. Lu CY et al. Precision medicine: affording the successes of science. NPJ Precis Oncol 2023;7:3.  
  9. National Cancer Institute. CAR T Cells: Engineering Patients’ Immune Cells to Treat Their Cancers. Available at: https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/research/car-t-cells Last accessed January 2024. 
  10. Tang A et al. Translational bioinformatics to enable precision medicine for all: Elevating equity across molecular, clinical, and digital realms. Yearb Med Inform 2022;31(1):106–15.  
  11. Hulsen T et al. From big data to precision medicine. Front Med (Lausanne) 2019;6:34. 
  12. Kasztura M et al. Cost-effectiveness of precision medicine: a scoping review. Int J Public Health 2019;64:1261–71. 

The Data are Analyzed and the Results are in: the Next Generation is Filled with Curies and Einsteins 

Menopause: It’s only natural so let’s get ready

Home or the office? How to choose the most convenient and productive work set-up

Privacy Policy

Updated October 2022

This website, www.wearescientific.com, is operated by AS&K Communications Limited (“we”, “our” or “us”) as the holding company for Group Scientific (known hereas “Scientific Group”). We are committed to safeguarding and preserving the privacy of our visitors. By using and visiting our website and by submitting your personal information to us you agree to us using your personal information as set out in this privacy policy. This Privacy Policy document (the “Policy”) explains what happens to any personal data that you provide to us, or that we collect from you whilst you visit our site and how we use cookies on this website. We respect the privacy of users of our website and recognise that when you choose to provide us with information about yourself, you trust us to act in a responsible manner with that information. This privacy policy contains important information about how we use your personal information.

Scientific Group reserves the right to amend or modify this Privacy Policy Statement at any time and in response to changes in applicable data protection and privacy legislation. All changes will be posted on this page. We encourage you to review our Policy periodically to remain informed of changes that may have occurred.

Information That We Collect

In running and maintaining our website we may collect and process the data about you. We may gather the following information about you:

  • Information about your use of our site including details of your visits such as pages viewed and the resources that you access. Such information includes traffic data, location data and other communication data
  • Identifiable Information submitted by you or someone acting on your behalf. Generally this information is requested when you want us to provide you with information. We will collect personal information that can identify you, such as your name, e-mail address, and other similar information (“Your Information”) when it is voluntarily submitted to us
  • Information that you provide when you communicate with us by any means
  • Information provided by you in relation to submitting a job application to us (this may include sensitive personal information e.g. ethnic origin)

Use of Your Information

We use the information that we collect from you to provide our services to you. In addition to this we may use the information for one or more of the following purposes:

  • To provide information to you that you request from us relating to our products or services.
  • To provide information to you relating to other products that may be of interest to you. Such additional information will only be provided where you have consented to receive such information.
  • To inform you of any changes to our website, services or goods and products.
  • To process and consider your job application

If you have previously purchased goods or services from us, we may provide to you details of similar goods or services, or other goods and services that you may be interested in.

We never give your details to third parties to use your data to enable them to provide you with information regarding unrelated goods or services.

Storing Your Personal Data

In operating our website it may become necessary to transfer data that we collect from you to other group companies, affiliates and third parties to help us process your personal information for the purposes set out in this policy. Some of these locations may be outside of the European Union. By providing your personal data to us, you agree to this transfer, storing and processing. We do our utmost to ensure that all reasonable steps are taken to make sure that your data is stored securely and that the third parties who receive your personal information are required to keep it confidential..

We are a global company and therefore we may transfer your personal information to countries around the world including the US and other countries outside Europe. We will, where necessary, put in place appropriate safeguards to ensure your information is protected.

Disclosing Your Information

We will not disclose your personal information to any other party other than in accordance with this Privacy Policy and in the circumstances detailed below:

  • In the event that we sell any or all of our business to a buyer, in which case we will require any such buyer to agree to treat Your Information in accordance with this Privacy Policy Statement.
  • Where we are legally required by law to disclose your personal information.
  • To further fraud protection and reduce the risk of fraud.


Third Party Links

On occasion we include links to third parties on this website. Where we provide a link it does not mean that we endorse or approve that site’s policy towards visitor privacy. You should review their privacy policy before sending them any personal data. These websites may use cookies and collect your personal information in accordance with their own privacy policies. This privacy policy does not apply to third party websites and we are not responsible for third party websites.

How long do we keep your information?

We will keep your information for a reasonable period for the purposes set out above.

Contacting Us

Please do not hesitate to contact us regarding any matter relating to this Privacy Policy and to have any inaccuracies in your information corrected via email at info@wearescientific.com or by phone at: +44 (0) 20 7428 2900

Or by post at:

AS&K Communications Limited
Data Protection/Scientific Group
5–6 Underhill Street
London
NW1 7HS
UK

Terms of Use

TERMS AND CONDITIONS

Last Updated 6 October 2022  

By accessing this website you agree to be bound by these Terms & conditions (“terms”), please read them carefully. If you do not agree to be bound by these terms you should not access or view this website.

Who we are:
AS&K Communications Ltd. The holding company for Group Scientific (known hereas ‘Scientific Group’)
We are registered in England and Wales under registration number: 05169581
Our trading office is: 5-6 Underhill Street, Camden, London, N1W 7HS, United Kingdom
VAT Registration number: GB 272753585.

  1. The information contained in this website is intended for general information purposes only. Scientific Group has made all reasonable efforts to ensure that the information on this website is accurate at the time of inclusion, however there may be inaccuracies and occasional errors for which Scientific Group apologises.
  2. Scientific Group makes no representations or warranties about the information provided through this website, including any hypertext links to any website or other items used either directly or indirectly from this website. AS&K accepts no liability for any inaccuracies or omissions in this website and any decisions based on information contained in Scientific Group’s websites are the sole responsibility of the visitor.
  3. The information and images contained within this website are © Copyright Group Scientific. We permit you to make copies of this website as necessary incidental acts during your viewing of it; and you may take a print for your personal use of so much of the site as is reasonable for private purposes. You may not frame this site nor link to a page other than the home page without our express permission in writing. 
  4. You shall not use this website for any illegal purposes and in particular agree that you shall not send, use, copy, post or allow any posting which is defamatory or obscene within the meaning of the Obscene Publications Act or which is abusive, indecent or in breach of the privacy of any person. You agree not to send any unsolicited promotional or advertising material, spam or similar materials or any volume messages that may interfere with the operation of this website or with the enjoyment of this website by other visitors.
  5. Scientific Group reserves the right at any time and without notice to enhance, modify, alter, suspend or permanently discontinue all or any part of this website and to restrict or prohibit access to it.
  6. You hereby agree to indemnify Scientific Group against any costs, claims, losses and damages (including legal fees) incurred by or awarded against Scientific Group as a result of your misuse of this website or your breach of these terms.
  7. If you are in breach of these terms or, of Scientific Group’s Privacy Policy, Scientific Group may as its option, suspend or block your access to this website and refuse to provide you with any further access to it.
  8. This website is provided to you free of charge, and neither Scientific Group nor any of its subsidiary or affiliated companies accept any liability to you (except in the case of personal injury or death caused by its negligence or for fraud or as required by law) whether in contract, tort (including negligence) or otherwise, arising out of it in connection with this website. Scientific Group accepts no liability for any direct, special, indirect or consequential damages, or any other damages of whatsoever kind resulting from whatever cause through the use of any information obtained either directly or indirectly from this website. Your sole remedy is to discontinue using this website.
  9. These terms may be amended by Scientific Group from time to time.
  10. Your use of this website and downloads from it, and the operation of these terms & conditions, shall be governed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales. The English courts shall have exclusive jurisdiction over any dispute arising out of your use of this website.

In the event that any or any part of the terms contained in these terms & conditions shall be determined by any competent authority to be invalid, unlawful or unenforceable to any extent, such term shall to that extent be severed from the remaining terms which shall continue to be valid and enforceable to the fullest extent permitted by law.

Please send any enquiries by email: info@wearescientific.com

Contact us by phone: +44 (0) 207 428 2900

Or by post:
Scientific Group – AS&K Communications
5–6 Underhill Street  
London NW1 7HS
United Kingdom

Cookie Policy

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts.

More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

  • Assisting you in navigation;

  • Assisting in registration to our events, login, and your ability to provide feedback;

  • Analyzing your use of our products, services or applications;

  • Assisting with our promotional and marketing efforts. (including behavioral advertising)

Below is a detailed list of the cookies we use on our Website. Our Website is scanned with our cookie scanning tool regularly to maintain a list as accurate as possible. We classify cookies in the following categories:
  • Strictly Necessary Cookies

  • Performance Cookies

  • Functional Cookies

  • Targeting Cookies

You can opt-out of each cookie category (except strictly necessary cookies) by clicking on the “cookie settings” button below: Customize Settings

Cookie-List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

These cookies are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off in our systems. They are usually only set in response to actions made by you which amount to a request for services, such as setting your privacy preferences, logging in or filling in forms. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not then work. These cookies do not store any personally identifiable information.
Cookie Subgroups Cookies Cookies Used Lifespan
asandk.com ask_session First Party Session
asandk.com XSRF-TOKEN First Party Session
 

Analytics Cookies

These cookies allow us to count visits and traffic sources, so we can measure and improve the performance of our site. They help us know which pages are the most and least popular and see how visitors move around the site. All information these cookies collect is aggregated and therefore anonymous. If you do not allow these cookies, we will not know when you have visited our site.
Cookie Subgroups Cookies Cookies Used Lifespan
asandk.com ga,_gid First Party 730 Days, A few seconds,
 

Targeting Cookies

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They can be used by these third parties to build a profile of your interests based on the browsing information they collect from you, which includes uniquely identifying your browser and terminal equipment. If you do not allow these cookies you will still see basic advertising on your browser that is generic and not based on your interests
Cookie Subgroups Cookies Cookies Used Lifespan
asandk.com _gat_gtag_xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx_gat_xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx First Party A few seconds, A few seconds, A few seconds
asandk.com, communications.asandk.com, visitor_id##### First Party 3650 Days
google.com 1P_JAR,_gcl_auNID,HSID,SSID,SIDCC,SID,SAPISID,DV Third Party 365 Days 180 Days, 183 Days,1095 Days,1095 Days,1095 Days,A few seconds
google.com __Secure-1PAPISID,__Secure-1PSID,__Secure-3PAPISID,__Secure-3PSIDCC,OTZ Third Party 1095 Days,1095 Days,,1095 Days,365 Days,,365 Days