Medical and technological development in the recent years has made a bold impact in the field of oncology. It is now much easier to collect data and conduct molecular profiling for tumors and related complex diseases. This analysis of a patient’s tumor is a significant step toward precision oncology in treating cancer. Molecular profiling will help determine the type of genetic protein changes that occur in the cancer cells. This is a major breakthrough for precision medicine.
Precision oncology is gathering attention because of the potential value that it can bring to the medical practice. The truth is no two cases are alike. There will be differences in the genetic makeup, metabolic rate, environment, and lifestyle of the patient.
Doctors should consider all these factors when providing diagnoses and treatments. Hence, two patients diagnosed with the same cancer subtype may show similar symptoms. Closer scrutiny will reveal that the cancerous cells may be very different at molecular level. The ability to view each case at a personalized level will allow physicians to adjust the treatments based on the individual’s needs.
Too Much, Too Complex
The recent medical advancements and studies about molecular profiling have been yielding positive results in cancer treatment. However, there are still barriers to overcome. Variety and diversity of the collected data is the most notable challenge. From these varied data come the challenge in the interpretation and integration in physicians’ diagnoses and treatments. Because of this need, medical providers are working hard to address this.
With the need to translate complex data to simplified format that focuses more on individual patient’s medical needs and condition, medical researchers at Johns Hopkins led by Donald Geman, professor in Department of Applied Mathematics and Statistics, published a new personalized oncology method. Researchers presented this new computational method in the recently concluded HIMSS Precision Medicine Summit in Washington, DC, last May 17 to 18, 2018.
The study “Digitizing Omics Profiles by Divergence from a Baseline” aims to bring simplicity in this complex process. With this mathematics-based approach, doctors will be able to read and interpret the data from the results of routine laboratory tests. Such tests include those that are readily and easily accessible like blood count, glucose level, and cholesterol level to name a few. The method works by comparing the patient’s profile to a baseline population, thereby mimicking basic clinical procedures.
Catching the Menace Early
Most of the research in the field of oncology focused on the treatment of advanced stages of cancer. However, the field of diagnostics has been gaining attention lately. Correspondingly, molecular diagnostic tools are seen as the new direction in cancer treatment. The early detection of this disease increases the chance of surviving it. The researchers at Johns Hopkins are optimistic about the future of precision medicine, specifically the use of advanced mathematics to help simplify complex medical data and allow easier integration of these information in the diagnosis, prognosis, and dispensing appropriate care and treatment for the patients.