February 28, 2021

Collective work and the use of data transforms the fight against cancer

Collective work combined with the collection and use of genomic and clinical data are transforming the traditional model of cancer care in Latin America, a specialist told Efe on Wednesday.

"The union of companies is fundamental, because it represents an easier way to work," said Marcelo Oliveira, leader for Brazil of Foundation Medicine and personalized medicine.

The director said that in the case of oncological patients, the use of data, also known as Big Data, has been fundamental not only to develop personalized medicines, but also to reduce costs in therapies.

He explained that Foundation Medicine is a company that was created in the United States with the objective of analyzing genomic profiles and generating databases that would be useful to understand and improve treatments against cancer.

"When he was born in 2010 it was known that there were about 230 cancer mutations, which at that time was not as well known," he added after speaking at the Roche Press Day in which Latin American specialists reported on the latest advances in health in the world. region..

Oliveira said that through a computer and research work was able to analyze the DNA of several hundred patients who identified more than 300 genes that could have mutations.

"We identified the possible biological and genomic alterations, we had all that information, and in 2012 Roche arrived, which was to start working with personalized medicine," he said.

From there, he said, the work was aimed at trying to identify the correct treatment in the patient and at the right time.

This has had a positive impact on the approach to cancer, which has become one of the leading causes of death in the world. In Latin America alone there were 672,000 deaths from this disease in 2018.

But not only that, but also, this type of alliances has managed to impact on issues of access to medicines, because for example, in Brazil, there are hospitals that have understood the role of personalized medicine.

"In a country like Brazil, the Foundation resolved the problem of concession and access to treatments within hospitals," said the expert.

However, Oliveira regretted that the issue of financing remains a barrier.

From his perspective it has been difficult to sensitize institutions about how personalized medicine can help improve resource management.

"The financing does not necessarily mean economy, but use the concept of private investment and allocate a health resource to benefit the patient," he said.

In his experience he has seen cases in which money is spent on treatments that are not effective for patients until they reach the one that does succeed.

"This does not mean that it will be economized, but that decisions will have a greater impact (for the benefit of patients)," he insisted.

And he assured that we must continue working on this to involve patients, institutions and decision makers, since it will be very difficult to achieve a change if all efforts do not converge.

(tagsToTranslate) work (t) collective (t) data (t) transforms (t) cancer

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