Personalized medicine is the future of multiple sclerosis treatment, and research now taking place to collect and analyze data and pinpoint biomarkers will help make possible approaches that — one day — will put MS into “complete remission” patient by patient, said Richard Rudick, vice president of Development Sciences at Biogen.
Rudick, in an interview with Multiple Sclerosis News Today at the 7th Joint ECTRIMS-ACTRIMS Meeting in Paris, touched upon the different real-world data generation initiatives that Biogen is taking part in, and their importance in allowing for a better understanding of, and ability to treat, MS.
The ultimate goal of these efforts, he said, is the ability to eventually be able to create treatment plans tailored to the individual, much as is done with diseases like diabetics today.
The company is involved in three real-world data projects: the MS PATHS (Partners Advancing Technology and Health Solutions), collecting data generated during routine clinical care; the Big Multiple Sclerosis Data (BMSD) Network, merging information gathered by five patient registries; and a project based on wearable digital sensors — data being collected 24/7 as people go about their lives — in the search for disease biomarkers.
“We are really focused on outcomes, that is point number one,” Rudick said of the projects’ main goals. “And we are focused on outcomes that matter, that is point number two … So the context for all three of these projects is the need to move into the future in medicine, in the direction of personalized medicine.”
Projects collecting different types of patient-generated data, on huge scales but also on highly specific points, will allow us to “learn enough to get the best outcome for each patient using the available therapies,” he said.
For instance, researchers are “finding that cognitive impairment is highly correlated with the outcomes we think matter — employment, living independently, and disability insurance. So, we believe strongly that we have to collect a lot of data, but that we have to collect the kinds of data that really make a difference to patients.”
Rudick also called attention to technological advances that are making patient monitoring and data collection not only possible but useful, and to the relevance of comorbidities in MS, and potential biomarkers of the disease.
“Looking down the road in 20 years, our goal is to put MS into complete remission in every case,” Rudick said. “That is going to take an individualized approach based on the individual characteristics of a person, the severity of their condition, their response to particular medications.
“Hopefully through technology, patient engagement, a more holistic look — and a laser-focus on outcomes — we are going to be able to get much better outcomes in MS and other neurologic diseases,” he said, concluding the talk.
The complete interview can be seen below: