Making better use of the HARMONY data

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Published: 23 Nov 2017
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Prof Giovanni Martinelli - Univeristy of Bologna

Prof Giovanni Martinelli from the Univeristy of Bologna talks to ecancer at the HARMONY 2017 meeting in Berlin. He is one of the co-founders of the HARMONY project and discusses the huge potential power of the data collected, and how at the moment only around 1% of the data is used. 

I was one of the first founders of the project at the beginning, together with Jesús and Lars Bullinger. At the beginning this project was to understand how we can integrate the omics data, the big data, and the clinical data in the clinical management of the patients with leukaemia or with other haematological diseases. This has been done with this project which is collecting different stakeholders – private, pharmaceutical and academic – to get a force to integrate the clinical data and omics data in the management of the patients.

Is it exciting to watch this idea turn into reality?

I’m excited, yes, you’re right, because this was a good idea that is now becoming a reality. We would like to improve and to increase the force all around Europe with the different researchers all around the majority of the states. The major problem of WP5, which I’m the leader of, is to find out how we can use the amount, huge amount, of information coming from individual sequencing or analysing the genomic data. We currently are not using 99% of the information coming from the patients. So the real effort that we will do in the next six months is to find out new approaches to integrate this 99% of unused information for managing our patients.

How long till the patient sees a benefit?

The majority of the patients are getting a benefit from the beginning because the 1% of the information currently is very useful for managing the patient, getting a new corrected treatment strategy, therapeutic strategy. But the problem is how we can use the 99% of the information that until now we are not using in getting better for our patients.

When can we harness more of the remaining 99% of data?

We believe that if we will be able in the next six months to take an additional 5% of the information to translate this into clinical decisions will be very successful. That’s our aim in the short time of this very important prolonged and visionary project that we have set up.