Contemporary medicine presents an immense challenge to both the patient and the medical service provider. A century ago, a physician’s ability to provide solutions to patients’ ailments was limited by their own experience and the simple tools available. A patient’s decisions were driven by belief in his doctor only, as there were no outside sources of information. Today, with an infinite amount of information at our fingertips, the role of those involved has changed dramatically. How does this affect routine medical practice? Less than the one might think.
Although it is clear that every person is unique, the health care system is too conservative to offer a personalized approach to each patient. First and foremost, there is a lack of available tools to evaluate the quality of such services, while standard evidence-based medical services are assessed by accepted quality criteria. The personalized approached has proven its effectiveness and the demand for this type of comprehensive care has become increasingly critical.
Are the benefits of personalized medicine really available to us?
As head of the Institute for Personalized Medicine (IPM) established at Ariel University just six months ago, I am proud to provide a positive response. Our initiative aims to change standard practice and create a new mode of personalized care for each individual patient. This concept has received unprecedented interest from the professional community, as well as financial support of philanthropist, Roman Abramovich.
The goal of this new cross-disciplinary institute is to develop individual strategies to prevent, diagnose and treat diseases by reassessment of standard treatment approaches, identification of specific individual therapeutic targets and validation of clinical data not considered by existing protocols. While personalized medicine is currently one of the fastest growing fields in translational research, IPM’s may be critically important for the integrating scientific achievement the fate of a patient.
Information is the key.
The premise of the Institute for Personalized Medicine presupposes that existing knowledge in medicine and biology is far more extensive than what is currently used by practitioners. There are tens of thousands of medical articles published every week in peer-reviewed journals, but the average doctor only reads just a few. By collaborating with our partners worldwide, we are building a search engine with the ability to review and process huge volumes data, update the information and run it through cross-validation algorithms to see how this structured knowledge can be effectively integrated.
Comprehensive analysis the data of a patient’s genes, proteins, environment and phenotype, scrutinized by proprietary algorithms for mega data analysis developed by our scientists will enable identification of the roots of a disease, as well as the pathways “feeding” it in each individual patient. It will define individual therapeutic targets and identify the one correct and safe therapy for attacking and treating the problem.
“We know that Mr. Abramovich is very selective in his decisions to support scientific projects,” comments Prof. Albert Pinhasov, Vice President for R&D at Ariel University. “He chose us because of our cutting-edge science. We are building tomorrow’s medicine.”
Being an academic entity, IPM has already built a strong collaboration with medical centers in Israel and the United States to bridge between analytical work and clinical practice by providing critical insights into biological, pathogenic and pharmacologic aspects of diagnostics and treatment.
IPM’s current challenge is to identify scientists from around the world with original ideas who think out of box. We need to visit them or bring them to Israel, and build projects around them in order to develop new approaches for personalized medicine.
In addition to patient data mining, IPM also provides data for the brand-new field of regenerative medicine for 3D bio-printing tissue constructs. The Institute is working on this with the Russian company, 3D Bio-printing Solutions, which recently unveiled its first-ever construct of the thyroid gland printed by the company’s advanced bio-printer, capable of printing live, functioning tissue and organ constructs.
IPM’s ambitious agenda strongly reflects Israeli values. In their academic work, they use The Start-up Nation’s effective, precise and result-oriented principles. We are proud to be a reputable center of expertise for investors interested in Israeli life-science technologies.
We strongly believe that what we do at IPM will cross all bureaucratic and formal barriers and will empower personalized medicine to become normative practice, enabling every individual to receive treatment personally tailored to their needs.