22.04.2013 - Computers are better than doctors at predicting the outcomes and responses of lung cancer patients to treatment, say Dutch researchers.
The team around Cary Oberije presented its findings at the 2nd Forum of the European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology (ESTRO) in Geneva. They said the model’s predictions remained superior to those of doctors even after the latter had seen the patient. The models use genomic information from previous patients to create a statistical formula that can be used to predict the probability of outcome and responses to treatment using radiotherapy with or without chemotherapy for future patients.
Having obtained predictions from the mathematical models, the researchers asked experienced radiation oncologists to predict the likelihood of lung cancer patients surviving for two years, or suffering from shortness of breath (dyspnea) and difficulty swallowing (dysphagia) at two points in time: 1) after they had seen the patient for the first time, and 2) after the treatment plan was made. At the first time point, the doctors predicted two-year survival for 121 patients, dyspnea for 139 and dysphagia for 146 patients. At the second time point, predictions were only available for 35, 39 and 41 patients respectively.
For all three predictions and at both time points, the mathematical models substantially outperformed the doctors' predictions, with the doctors' predictions being little better than those expected by chance.The researchers plotted the results on a special graph  on which the area below the plotted line is used for measuring the accuracy of predictions; 1 represents a perfect prediction, while 0.5 represents predictions that were right in 50% of cases, i.e. the same as chance. They found that the model predictions at the first time point were 0.71 for two-year survival, 0.76 for dyspnea and 0.72 for dysphagia. In contrast, the doctors' predictions were 0.56, 0.59 and 0.52 respectively.
"The number of treatment options available for lung cancer patients are increasing, as well as the amount of information available to the individual patient. It is evident that this will complicate the task of the doctor in the future," said Dr. Oberije from Maastricht University Medical Center. "If models based on patient, tumour and treatment characteristics already out-perform the doctors, then it is unethical to make treatment decisions based solely on the doctors' opinions. We believe models should be implemented in clinical practice to guide decisions."
24.05.2016 One of the pioneering companies developing pharmaceuticals and diagnostics based on the gut microbiome, Enterome Bioscience, has raised €14.5m in a Series C financing round. Among the investors were Seventure and Lundbeckfond as well as Nestlé.
20.05.2016 The long awaited global review on antimicrobial resistance by economist Lord Jim O’Neill has been published. It sets out an action plan to defeat superbugs with a huge awareness campaign and rapid diagnostics to be used before antibiotics are prescribed.
18.05.2016 Bayer is deepening its involvement in CRISPR with a licensing agreement for genome editing patents. Irish partner ERS Genomics holds the rights to the CRISPR/Cas9 tech from Emmanuelle Charpentier, one of the inventors.
11.05.2016 Newly spun out company OxStem has raised £16.9m (€21.5m) to develop regenerative meds for the treatment of age-related disease. It is the largest financing for an Oxford spin-out – or any UK academic spin-out – to date.
09.05.2016 Swiss Genentech partner AC Immune has raised CHF42.7m (€38.6m) in order to advance its therapeutic and diagnostic product pipeline in Alzheimer’s disease. The news follows a recently announced R&D collaboration with Biogen.
04.05.2016 Barcelona-based epigenetics expert Oryzon Genomics has closed a debt funding round of €10.5m, bringing the total money raised since last year to €27m. The funds will serve to advance the company’s two LSD1 inhibitors in cancer and neurodegeneration.
03.05.2016 Ipsen is strengthening its ties to long-time development partner Oncodesign, a Dijon-based cancer treatment biotech. The French pharma is handing over the pre-clinical pharmacology for its oncology research programmes to Oncodesign.
29.04.2016 Swiss bank Group UBS has raised US$471m (€412m) for the UBS Oncology Impact Fund, which was set up to invest in early-stage cancer treatments. The money raised by the fund, nearly half of which comes from investors in Asia, is the largest amount ever raised for such a cancer investment fund.
27.04.2016 More revenue, more jobs, more financing, more R&D expenditure – all signs point towards sustainable growth in the German biotech sector. These are the results of the most recent company survey 2016, published by biotechnologie.de. The report was once again conducted alongside the biotech standards defined by the organisation for economic cooperation and development (OECD).