Virtual models emerging to enable personalized cancer care

At the bleeding edge of personalized cancer medicine, there are software engineers as well as oncology experts. And a diverse team of IT and clinical types is out exploit the weaknesses of tumors though a mostly European group called the P-medicine consortium. The group is targeting three cancer trials in which new technical advances will be on hand aid the personalized-medicine cause.

The European Institute of Oncology's ecancermedicalscience journal reports on the consortium's progress today, pointing out that there are bioinformatics, software and data-mining pros at work along side clinicians and attorneys. The group--formed to advance and virtual physiological models and other tech for personalized treatments--has opted to focus on trials involving a Wilms tumor, breast cancer and leukemia.

In the latter trial, the group is building a virtual model to predict the number of leftover cancerous cells as well as disease recurrence in children treated for acute lymphoblastic leukemia, ecancermedicalscience reports. This virtual model is the type of tool that the consortium--which includes participants from 9 European countries and Japan--wants to use in support of treatments tailored for specific pools of patients.

This is good news for personalized medicine. Apart from a handful of targeted drugs and diagnostics, developers have plodded toward and, in some cases, fallen short on delivering on the promise of personalized treatments. Yet there's hope that groups can tap loads of available molecular data on diseases and IT advances to build computer models that provide developers the insights they need to put their personalized-medicine efforts into high gear.

-see the report in ecancermedicalscience