18.08.13 - 23.08.13, Seminar 13342

ICT Strategies for Bridging Biology and Precision Medicine

The following text appeared on our web pages prior to the seminar, and was included as part of the invitation.

Motivation

It is a well-known and much deplored fact that, despite great efforts, much of the overwhelming current progress in bio-medical research does not easily find its way to the bedside: While tools for generating ever better information regarding the individual makeup of a patient are becoming widely available, the sheer amount of data resulting from these tools often is too large to be useful to medical practitioners. So, clinicians should better be equipped with means

  • to easily annotate, exchange, and jointly interpret their patients' data,
  • to specifically search for the most relevant insights exactly when needed,
  • and to discuss the resulting implications for their clinical work,

taking into account all that can be learned from the various databases and tools the net provides.

Remarkably, there is a growing international consensus that the missing-context aware computing infrastructure can be established using modern integrative ICT-platform solutions for connecting bioscience and clinical work: The European ITFoM initiative urges the EU to provide a revolutionary ICT that revolutionises medicine. And a recent report of the National Academies of the USA suggests to create an integrative ICT-platform for a Knowledge Network of Disease that integrates the rapidly expanding range of information on the causes of disease and would allow researchers, health-care providers, and the public to share and update this information.

Such a platform could be used to optimally exploit the full potential of current business-IT alignment strategies, forming flexible and extendable IT architectures that respond to explicit governance needs, achieving the level of semantic interoperability needed for systematic de-coupling of services and mediation of conflicts, assignment and observance of rights and roles, activity monitoring and object management, assured security, and task-dependent dynamic modification of rules so as to making change and improvement a daily routine.

Furthermore, as time is still the most precious resource (also) in medical care, we need to find out how to design intelligent ICT so as to simplify the practitioners' professional life, not to overburden it with additional requests, and to save, not to waste their time. Indeed, young medical professionals are already dreaming of a de-digitalization of medicine as they tend to see ICT in hospitals as a curse, not a blessing for medical care. There is also a very specific requirement that ICT systems be patient-facing, very much in the same way physicians are, but this is a feature emerging mostly without the benefit of systematic study and planning. So, there is an imminent danger that inadequate design of medically oriented ICT will actually be counter-productive, not enhancing CS-application in medicine, but derailing it.

To discuss these perspectives and their consequences for IT development and for health care in some depth, we intend to bring together participants of the two former Dagstuhl Seminars on “Structure Discovery in Biology” with colleagues from the ITFoM and the US initiative as well as representatives from e.g. the Cancer Genome Atlas, the International Cancer Genome Consortium, the Conference on Semantics in Healthcare and Life Science, the Semantic Web Applications and Tools for Life Science group, the GI/GMDS one-day workshop on Supporting Translational and Personalized Medicine with SOA, Grid, and Cloud (September 2012), and similar workshops in China.

Jointly with these colleagues from mathematics, computer science, biology, and medicine, we want to explore in this workshop how ICT can be used in medical care to bridge the widening gap between biomedical research and daily clinical routine. The result of our workshop will be a Dagstuhl Manifesto detailing the open issues and research perspectives for the near future.

Suggested topics for discussion

  • The virtual oncology (diabetes,...) patient in medical practice
  • Virtualisation in drug development
  • Parallel toponome decoding and genome sequencing to asses emergent properties of chronic diseases and disease mechanisms
  • Studying the dynamics of disease progression and implications for disease mechanisms
  • A systems approach to blood and tissue diagnostics – There are really some outstanding recent results using proteins as well as mRNAs and miRNAs.
  • The integration and modeling of multi-omic data from disease and its implications for diagnosis and therapy
  • Family genome sequencing--and the use of Next Generation sequencing to find disease genes
  • Sequencing of genomes from tumors and its implications for therapy and disease stratification
  • The stratification of disease into discrete subtypes and implications for diagnosis and therapy
  • Assays for wellness
  • Architectures and APIs for user governed ICT
  • Big Data: What can it tell us?
  • The stratification of disease into discrete subtypes and implications for science
  • Fusing bioimaging data with clinical and molecular information (for enhancing a systems view of disease)
  • Does the complexity of precision medicine require new ways of medical training?
  • Precision medicine and evidence-based guidelines: complementary or incompatible?

Please, propose further topics you would like to see discussed.