Alternative Approaches to Personalized Medicine in Oncology

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In the latest episode of Impetus Digital‘s Fireside Chat, I sat down with Laura Towart, Founder & CEO of My Personal Therapeutics. Among other things, she discussed her company’s approach to precision medicine, the barriers patients with cancer face when trying to access personalized treatments, and how the field is expected to change in the near future.

Here is a sneak peek of our conversation:

Q: Can you speak a little bit to this concept of the “biological avatar” or the “biological twin”? Is this something that people should be afraid of? What does this look like?

A: It’s interesting. We hear and use the term “biological twin” or “digital twin” or “avatar” in many different ways and they mean different things to different audiences. For example, companies that are doing purely computational predictions of treatment outcomes are creating what they would call a digital twin of the patient. They would take the patient’s tumor network and then computationally see what would be the appropriate recommendation. That could be quite predictive to a certain level, but what we’re able to do is create an actual biological twin and then do actual experiments, not just using predictive modeling. It’s interesting, because we can benefit from both.

What we’re creating every time we do an experiment, we’re generating such a large body of data. We’re taking up to 20 mutations and then we’re engineering them into the fly and then we’re screening them. There are around 2,100 FDA-approved drugs and we’re screening those alone and in combination. It’s getting tens of thousands of drug combinations against a highly personalized model. With each experiment, we have so much data that we generate; that all feeds into our own computational model that can help us make better computational-based predictions in the future. All of our predictions will be based on biological data that we’ve collected previously…

For more of our discussion, you can watch the whole Fireside Chat with Laura Towart, or listen to the podcast version, below.

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