The development of gene technology is also taking place similar to the success achieved by smartphone cameras over the years in low light. Conventional diagnostic methods for cancer caused by a mutation in genes were insufficient to identify mutated genes, just like photographs taken in very low light. Now studies on the next generation of gene technologies point to a bright future in the fight against this disease. In other words, a faster and more effective solution is being developed for the diagnosis and identification of the mutated cells with new generation technologies. So, we can say that the studies on definition are made in the light, not in the dark.
We had the chance to talk to James Creeden, Global Medical Director of Foundation Medicine Inc (FMI), which was purchased by Roche for $1 billion in 2015, about the final stage in identifying cancerous cells. “When looking at a patient’s extensive cancer gene map, we generate an array of over 300 genes, which means that a lot of genomic data is produced, and this data is stored partly in the center and partly in cloud-based solutions that comply with data privacy regulations in place to protect the data,” Creeden said. “I would like to draw particular attention to how such a data burst really helps us identifying patients with curable mutations in their cancer. Moreover, these patients cannot be diagnosed with former test methods.”
JUST LIKE PHONE CAMERAS
Concerning the similarity of the development of smartphone cameras to the success of taking pictures in low light, Creeden explained their work is conducted with the precision of a scientist. “Definitely, just like photographs taken in low light,” he continued. “For example, if you are in a dark room and you are trying to find your keys, if you have a flashlight in your hand, you can look everywhere with the flashlight, but you may still not find your keys. You need to turn on the lights, see everything as a whole. And our technology allows us to do that on the genome. We can turn on the light and see all of the mutations found at the same time.”
Creeden underlined that what they do is not a diagnosis but identification. “Over the last 10-20 years, it has been possible to determine whether it is lung cancer or a certain subspecies by taking tumor samples, looking at different layers of it, and examining them under a microscope. We do not actually diagnose lung cancer. What our tests do is to help identify the genomic driving forces of cancer after being diagnosed by the doctor. This approach can save time and tissue, which is extremely valuable for advanced cancer patients and their families, and it can also help the physician decide by providing information on personalized targeted therapies, immunotherapies, or clinical study options,” he added.
A NEEDLE WITH A FLASHLIGHT
Dr. Mutlu Demiray, Internal Diseases and Medical Oncology Specialist, on the other hand, talked about the treatment methods as personalized treatment. “The genetics of cancer had always drawn attention. However, it was very difficult and time-consuming method – like searching for a needle in a room with a flashlight. Immediately after the development of NGS (next-generation sequencing) technique, we are now able to make light,” Dr. Demiray said. “With this technique, we gained insight into the characteristics of the tumor from both the tumor tissue and the DNA fragments of the tumor spilled into the blood and arranged personalized treatments accordingly. Instead of fabrication treatments, the transition to tailor-made treatments began. An important gain of this technique is that the cancers are not organ-specific, i.e. breast, ovaries, intestines and lungs, but that the changes in gene levels determine the course of the disease. In other words, the period of organ-independent molecular identification was started. In short, if there is a target for smart drugs, it does not matter which organ is cancerous. Upon switching to personalized treatments, an incredible amount of knowledge was created.”
Dr. Demiray stated that the processing of data and the application of the most accurate treatments to the patient emerged as a separate problem. “Because the mutation in a tumor was not just one. Generally, cancer types with multiple or even 15-20 mutations were seen. In this case, the processing of this data is left to machines and powerful computers, meaning that we have come to the period when machines will learn and guide the doctors,” Demiray noted. “In other words, we are on the edge of the period when the genetic map of the tumor will be evaluated via the computers and presented to the doctor as a preliminary report. Although significant advantages have been achieved with these methods in many patients, we have a long way to go. We do not routinely recommend it to each patient. However, in some cancer types, especially in lung cancer, routine recommendations have begun in international guidelines. New genomic data and artificial intelligence will be our most important help in the fight against cancer.”
PERSONALIZED TREATMENT LEADS TO SUCCESS
FXH’s health startups support program has announced its top three startups. Successful health care startups stand out with patient-specific, customized solutions.
The winners of the FXH venture program, sponsored by Roche, were announced at an event in Munich.
Technologies for personalization used in the treatment and diagnosis came to the fore. Striving to implement transformation by acquiring and supporting new generation technology startups, Roche has incorporated 10 new generation startups for more than $10 billion in the last four years. In the coming years, the behavior of many health companies that we will see as data companies, not pharmaceuticals, is changing. Therefore, it is inevitable to maintain regulations and inspections on health data as soon as possible without hindering technological development.
In fact, pharmaceutical companies have been going through the transformation of technology companies intensively for the last 10 years. Now pharmaceutical companies are starting to work with people who use them for personal diagnosis and treatment. For this, they will benefit from next-generation technologies such as big data, artificial intelligence, machine learning and mobile. A new generation of gene technology, with the support of current technologies, is making progress in personal diagnosis and treatment.
Among the startups that were supported in the FXH competition, personalized treatment, diagnosis, and identification-oriented startups were also highlighted.
The Danish biomedical company GLX ANALYTIX detects autoimmune and neurodegenerative disease and determines the effectiveness of treatment, thus personalizing medical treatment.
Nanovery is developing nanorobots to diagnose the world’s deadliest diseases. The company collaborates with academic and clinical partners, providing access to thousands of patient samples and a special data set. Nanovery’s nanorobots are added to blood samples. Each nanorobot is looking for a specific cancer DNA mutation, just like a “search function.” When it catches the right cancer biomarker, it shines a light, allowing bedside testing. Using artificial intelligence, Nanovery can design new nanorobots that can target new cancer mutations.
Meanwhile, the goal of startup Ebenbuild is to provide individualized accurate mechanical ventilation settings for patients with Acute Respiratory Failure to increase their chances of survival and recovery. Combining CT scan of the patient’s lungs with in-depth physiological knowledge and engineering and physics-based algorithms, they form highly accurate digital twins of the human lungs. The power of physics-based models is leveraged with state-of-the-art machine learning to improve diagnostics and provide better maintenance more quickly.
HEALTH TECHNOLOGY: ONE-STOP SOLUTION AT CITY HOSPITAL
Türk Telekom Group has implemented the technological infrastructure of Ankara City Hospital, which is one of the largest health institutions in Turkey. With this project, patients will be able to get answers to their questions quickly from a single point.
At the City Hospital, patients are supported by a technology solution so that they do not get lost. Patients are informed about their destination via a one-stop procedure. All information technology infrastructure of Ankara City Hospital in Bilkent, the biggest public-private cooperation project in Turkey’s health field, was realized by Türk Telekom Group. In addition to the data center, computer and peripherals, information security infrastructure of the hospital, a Hospital Information Management System was also implemented.
All the software required for the effective operation of Ankara City Hospital was brought together by Türk Telekom. In the hospital where the HICAMP Health Solutions Platform was put into operation, the integration of the data center installation required by this software and the whole hardware, network and other information technology infrastructure was also realized with the expertise of Türk Telekom.
Some operations can be problematic in large hospitals are being solved by an automation project. Following medicine, the dose of the drug, and personnel verification, the procedures are performed. Innova’s HiCamp Health Solutions Platform at Ankara City Hospital offers solutions from intensive care services to safety, from cleaning to waste management in hospitals under one roof. With the right patient, the right medicine, the right dose, and the right personnel matching mechanisms, the whole process becomes reliable. Thanks to our mobile solutions, patients and health care professionals can access all kinds of information as soon as possible. With the improvements, nearly 40 automation systems and end-to-end devices were designed and installed.
9,000 R&D ENGINEERS BY THE END OF 2020
Established in partnership with the Defense Industry Presidency (SSB) and Istanbul Chamber of Commerce (İTO), Teknopark Istanbul is celebrating its 10th anniversary. Teknopark, the innovation center of the Turkish defense industry, includes major companies that have undertaken over 1,600 national projects, such as ASELSAN, ROKETSAN, Turkish Aerospace Industries (TUSAŞ/TAI), TUSAŞ Engine Industries Inc. (TEI), Defense Technologies Engineering and Trade Inc. (STM), BMC, Altınay, Ctech, Pavotek, and Armelsan.
Bilal Topçu, General Manager of Teknopark Istanbul, stated that they are proud to host the leading research and development (R&D) projects of defense industry such as MİLGEM (National Ship) Corvette, Altay Tank, ANKA UAV, and LHD Amphibious Assault Ship.
“As we celebrate our 10th anniversary, there are more than 300 companies and 5,000 qualified R&D engineers on our campus. By the end of 2020, we will reach the employment of approximately 9,000 people with our 3rd stage buildings,” Topçu said. “When all stages are completed, we aim to offer an added value of $10 billion to our country’s economy by hosting more than 1,000 companies, over 300 entrepreneur groups, and some 40,000 R&D engineers in a covered area of 1 million square meters in 2030. Besides, our incubation center, Cube Incubation, which now includes more than 90 entrepreneur groups, will reach an area of 10,000 square meters by the end of 2020 and become one of the largest incubator centers in the world.”