From Data to Discovery: How AI Is Accelerating Progress in Oncology

March 13, 2024
Komodo Health/COTA

Within life sciences organizations, there’s a misperception that a few highly specialized researchers and data scientists are positioned to generate evidence from real-world data (RWD). But the latest wave of data, technology, and artificial intelligence (AI) advances are challenging this view, empowering individuals across life sciences functions to answer research questions using many different types of RWD. In oncology, these advances have unleashed a host of opportunities to drive breakthroughs for cancer patients faster than ever before.

Recently, COTA Healthcare and Komodo Health partnered to make  COTA’s oncology RWD available to link with the vast patient journey data in Komodo’s Healthcare MapTM. The combination of deep clinical cancer information and insights from Komodo data products has enabled life sciences researchers across the enterprise to gain a more complete view of cancer patient journeys and outcomes. 

Here, COTA CEO Miruna Sasu and Komodo CEO Arif Nathoo, MD, share how RWD and AI technology combine to unlock new opportunities for life sciences research across all teams and functions.

Responses have been edited for clarity and length.

Q: What opportunities do you see for RWD to support life sciences research in the future? 

Arif: There’s an opportunity to expand the visibility of multimodal RWD across the life sciences enterprise, particularly among Commercial teams. Data on patient outcomes and patterns in care — often used by Clinical Development teams when defining patient selection criteria for clinical trials — is also valuable in determining which therapies could have the greatest impact on patients. EMRs and genomics data are viewed as drug development datasets today, but they’re massively underutilized by other teams to determine what great care looks like.

We have an opportunity to educate Commercial teams about how these data types, in combination with more traditional commercial data, can elucidate real-world clinical practice. Commercial insights can become even deeper, going from “Which doctors treat which patients?” and “Which treatments are most often used for this disease?” to “What outcomes are associated with particular treatment regimens?” and “How can we make a better world for patients?”

Miruna: Adding outcomes data to commercial analyses would be a huge step forward. Commercial teams often work with outdated information from literature, but cancer moves too fast for that. In oncology, outdated information can mean a patient passed away yesterday. Regularly updated outcomes data, including death data, is crucially important for Commercial teams in life sciences as well as for healthcare providers.

Q: How can AI help unlock even more insights from RWD? 

Arif: For years, we’ve been able to use AI to clean and standardize data or to perform analyses. What’s new now is our ability to feed information into AI systems at a large scale, speeding analyses and democratizing research to include a broader group of individuals who can use AI and data to make better decisions.

Rather than putting the power of RWD research into the hands of a small group of biostatisticians or data scientists, AI helps us augment the experience of any person investigating research questions. We have systems that allow many studies to run in parallel, while researchers can review outputs and update models much more frequently than they could before. This has huge potential to unlock insights that allow people to do better work. We’ve been observing this in our work with life sciences recently, many teams are using AI to augment research and serve as extra hands on deck for RWD analyses.

Miruna: AI makes data more approachable. You can ask a question directly to the data — whether you’re trained in computer science or not. As users get more savvy, they can learn how to ask questions of the data to predict trends and new potential treatment patterns with AI. From my point of view, the sky’s the limit.

To see more articles like this, follow Komodo Health on X, LinkedIn, or YouTube, and visit Insights on our website.

Komodo Health and COTA partner to combine real-world datasets in MapEnhance that can power better insights for oncology patients.

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