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Oncology Times publishes news feature on HARMONY

June 17, 2020 12:41 - x 00, 0 - 00:00

Oncology Times, a well-established news source for scientific updates in hematology and oncology, has published a special feature on the HARMONY Alliance. The article showcases HARMONY’s use of Big Data to advance research across seven blood cancers. This open-access article, published in the May Issue, can be found here.

In this news feature, author Sarah LaCorte interviews HARMONY Coordinator Professor Jesus Maria Hernández Rivas; they begin by discussing ‘four big questions’ in blood cancer that HARMONY aims to answer using Big Data. These focus on finding solutions for faster patient diagnosis, improved clinical decision making, addressing unmet medical needs. and using biomarkers and surrogate endpoints to accelerate drug development.

“The only way in which we can achieve the challenge of personalized medicine is by collecting large amounts of relevant data, good quality data, to be analyzed and to start making clinical decisions based on as much evidence as we can have from previous patients.”
Professor Hernández Rivas

Real-world data can provide valuable evidence that is in the context of clinical practice – something which is not always achievable with randomized controlled trials. However, a major challenge is ensuring that real-world data are of high quality and can be standardized to ensure they are used appropriately. In the next section of the article, Professor Hernández Rivas highlights some of the complexities of this process. One such difficulty is the development of tools to ensure only high-quality data are incorporated into the HARMONY Big Data Platform.

“First of all, we have to use new tools for screening and for the analysis of the data. The big data analytical techniques have not yet been widely applied in health research. We will need to develop new algorithms or refine algorithms to be applied in health research. We must adapt the big data concept to health. We will run new algorithms and developing tools that we will be able to help the hematologists to establish better prognosis for each patient suffering from these diseases.”
Professor Hernández Rivas

The article concludes by overviewing HARMONY’s long-term goals. HARMONY hopes its innovative research will open new borders and that its impact will be extend from Europe to the rest of the world.

“I think it's important to state that HARMONY is a European project, but also an open project with a global vision.”
Professor Hernández Rivas





Read the full article on the Oncology Times website: May 2020; 42 (S10): p16-17.

The HARMONY Alliance is a public-private partnership for Big Data in Hematology, established in January 2017. Our mission is to unlock and spread valuable knowledge on Hematologic Malignancies (blood cancers) among a large number of stakeholders. The ultimate goal of HARMONY is to harness and mine Big Data to speed up the development of improved treatments and treatment strategies for patients. 

We currently have 53 Partners and 41 Associated Members from across 17 European countries, including 9 pharmaceutical companies and 7 European Patient Umbrella Organizations. The HARMONY Alliance is funded by the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI).

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