06.01.2023 - Healthcare, Innovation, Technology

Using artificial intelligence to improve oncology treatment

Biotechnology company Smartomica was founded two years ago after its founder’s conclusion about the gap between research and daily practice in oncology treatment. Since then, the company has developed an artificial intelligence-based platform that helps oncologists to work with cancer patients.

Smartomica was founded in 2020 in Latvia by two Israeli researchers and entrepreneurs – Igor Koman and Valeria Kogan. Igor Koman is a qualified physician and head of the Institute for Personalized and Translational Medicine at Ariel University in Israel. Being part of the research world and seeing the gap between cutting-edge studies conducted by scientists and day-to-day medical practice, he was inspired to set up Smartomica. He clearly saw the unfulfilled need of making all this knowledge available and comprehensible to the doctors. Then Valeria Kogan joined him, with her expertise in artificial intelligence, to build a technology that will make it possible to process large amounts of scientific data in order to generate and analyse possible diagnostics and treatment scenarios.

Creating a personalised approach

When all the standard medical approaches have already failed for the patient, Smartomica helps the doctor to bridge the gap between cutting-edge scientific research and standard medical practice. “Being driven by evidence-based medicine, we make it possible to find out every piece of knowledge that might help in the treatment of the patient, among millions of scientific articles written by researchers worldwide”, explains Kogan.

Smartomica methods use historical knowledge in combination with the personal profile of each patient. Smartomica offers technologically complex analysis, which allows the use of various data about the patient to create a personalised approach to their treatment. The company generates unique patient-specific datasets by analysing individual patients’ medical data, medical images, and conventional laboratory diagnostics aligned with genomics, proteomics, and metabolomics. Once obtained, those datasets become subject to AI-based analysis in order to identify individual, potentially druggable, therapeutic targets, and select safe and effective treatments for them. The evidence for these generated suggestions comes from in-depth analysis of relevant patient-specific scientific information supported by big data screening.

The team is everything

“Our target countries are EU countries and Israel, and our goal is to engage the top experts in the field to become the world leader in delivering scientific knowledge to medical professionals in the oncology field. Focusing on EU countries, we see our mission in making cutting-edge research more accessible to cancer patients”, Kogan emphasises.

She believes that the biggest challenge in such a conservative industry as medicine is to build your product the way that it is accepted by your potential users, while a clear understanding of the customer’s business processes as well as the ability to receive and implement feedback is key.

“But the main lesson we have learned during our journey is that the team is everything”, she adds. “We had different times in the company when we had to grow or let some people go. We value every single person working with us and are aiming to build a safe and productive environment for our team. The team of researchers, analysts, and doctors make it possible to build a comprehensive approach to analyzing patients’ cases. We speak the language of both researchers and physicians, and help these two worlds to work together for the benefit of the patients”, she explains.

This feature is reproduced from Baltic Business Magazine by kind permission of the German-Baltic Chamber of Commerce in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. You can see the official website and read the Baltic Business Quarterly magazine on App Store or Google Play.

Author: Žanete Hāka, Delfi Bizness, exclusively for Baltic Business Quarterly.
Photo: Shutterstock.

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