AI Oncology: Why big pharma sees a remedy in data and AI

Cancer medicine is on the roll! The following quote is disturbing on many counts:

He cites Rozlytrek, a treatment for metastatic non-small cell lung cancer approved by the FDA in August, which targets genetic mutations seen in only about 1 per cent of all patients with the condition. The rarity made it difficult to find participants for a conventional clinical trial, in which one group receives the medicine and the other does not.

First it used Foundation Medicine, a US company which genetically sequences tumours, to identify a group of patients with the right genetic make-up on whom to test the medicine.

It then created the equivalent of another trial using the Flatiron database to find a group of patients with the same mutations who were taking what had been regarded, up to that point, as the best treatment. The data were submitted to “regulators so that they could compare what they saw in the single-arm study of Rozlytrek to what they might have seen in a similar patient with that mutation who hadn’t received Rozlytrek”.

It is not the “progress” but a retrograde nail in the coffin for palliative care. The costs should justify the means because it again creates a hedge for those who can pay through their insurance (increasing the risk pool) and hence the premiums skyrocket for those who are being enrolled. As such, it leads to distortion in healthcare delivery. Personalised medicine is being used to pre-select individuals with many undesirable and unintended consequences.

via Why big pharma sees a remedy in data and AI | Financial Times