Unlocking the power of personalised medicine
Thursday, 18 September 2014
The University of Newcastle's (UON) Professor Pablo Moscato is leading the revolution of how some of medicine's greatest challenges, including Alzheimer's Disease and cancer, are approached.
Through the application of computer science and algorithms, Professor Moscato is driving the push for personalised medicine. He and his research team at UON's Priority Research Centre for Bioinformatics, Biomarker Discovery and Information-Based Medicine (CIBM) use mathematical methods to interpret genetic data and scrutinise diseases such as breast cancer, Parkinson's Disease and multiple sclerosis.
"Most of the policy that exists today involves patients being given a drug for a disease, where the disease categories and definitions are generally quite broad," Professor Moscato said.
"New biotechnologies and mathematical classification methods are revealing that they are actually multiple diseases, and so we are moving away from the approaches that hope for a 'silver bullet' cure.
"Only with sophisticated computer analysis can you screen all of the combinations. What physics has been for engineering, the same can be said for computer science to biology and medicine."
Professor Moscato's analysis of diseases at previously unseen levels has allowed for the identification of disease subtypes, as well as the identification of biomarkers capable of tracking the progression of cancer or neurodegeneration.
The work of Professor Moscato and his team played a vital role recently in helping European scientists uncover a potential new key to the early detection and treatment of Alzheimer's Disease.
"Computer science allows us to answer the many complex questions posed by 'big data' from across the field of medicine, and in turn alter treatment methods," Professor Moscato said.
"By looking at these issues from a mathematical perspective, we are able to move towards a tailored approach to treatment for patients. It's a new philosophy, which breaks the mould of what medicine has been for the past 1,000 years.
"It's compatible to have such business intelligence with customised drug treatments at a personal level, identifying a way to both minimise patient dissatisfaction and reduce government costs."
VIDEO: To view Professor Moscato's latest video detailing his work on unlocking the power of personalised medicine, visit http://www.newcastle.edu.au/innovate.
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