Researchers are poised to make huge advances in medicine, particularly in how we treat cancer and arthritis. See how big data and IT are contributing.
Drugs can be expensive, difficult to research, hard to get approved, and, according to a recent report, don’t work on large parts of the population. These factors likely put a great deal of pressure on pharmaceutical companies to research drugs that have the highest probability of turning a profit rather than those that could help the most people.
But this paradigm may be shifting with the help of IT and big data.
The industry has found new ways IT and big data are making a major impact on the way drugs are being researched by helping create more effective trials.
Before we examine the benefits IT is bringing to this arena, let’s try to understand what’s wrong with the traditional (and ongoing) way most drugs enter trial.
Most drugs don’t work. Statistics published in the journal Nature show that among the 10 highest-grossing drugs prescribed in the US, even the best work in only one in four patients. Some work in only one of twenty-five. Statins, commonly prescribed cholesterol drugs, work correctly in only one in fifty patients, according to the article.
Nature cites multiple reasons for this, but the basic is that our different genetic makeups (genome), proteins in our body (proteome), and body flora (the bacteria and other stuff that grows inside of us that we don’t like to think about) affect how drugs work. Over the past few decades, medicine has often (and sometimes legitimately) been accused of focusing too heavily on Western patient pools (cohorts), excluding minorities and people from other countries, and therefore of doing a bad job of creating drugs that work for all ethnicities. continua a leggere