Dr. Iya Khalil is a technology entrepreneur and physicist with a vision of transforming medicine into a discipline that is quantitative, predictive, and patient-centric via big data analytic approaches. She co-founded two big data companies, Via Science and GNS Healthcare, and is the co-inventor of the proprietary computational engine that underpins both entities. Dr. Khalil’s expertise spans applications in drug discovery, drug development all the way to treatment algorithms that can be applied at the point of care. She is a frequent speaker at industry events and conferences and was recognized by President Obama at a White House dinner as a leading entrepreneur in genomic medicine. Read her full bio.

Interview with Iya Khalil of GNS Healthcare

Q: Artificial intelligence (AI) techniques have sent vast waves across healthcare, even fueling an active discussion of whether AI doctors will eventually replace human physicians in the future. Do you believe that human physicians will be replaced by machines in the foreseeable future? What are your thoughts?

A: I think that there’s a lot of speculation and uncertainty around AI, but I don’t foresee a time when we won’t need physicians. However, I do believe AI will help clinicians make better, faster decisions that will lead to better outcomes.

For example, take the case of newly diagnosed cancer patients. When patients present with their disease, the physician has to make a choice as to which of many treatment options they are going to prescribe and whether to provide a treatment alone or in combination with others. Right now, those decisions are based on the standard of care. But what we know is each of us has different and unique biology and genetics. We now have the data, the technology and the processing speed to build disease models and run computer-based in silico simulations on every possible treatment scenario and inform the physician on the right treatment for each individual based on their biology. That’s the real power of AI.

Q: Can you provide some use cases that have already successfully demonstrate the value of AI/Machine Learning in healthcare?

A: Oncology is certainly a focus area for AI ,machine learning and precision medicine, especially given the launch of the Cancer Moonshot Initiative and the on-going development of innovative therapies like immunotherapy and CAR T-cells.

In terms of use cases, GNS has been partnering with the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology and have discovered genetic mutations in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer, specifically a difference between left sided and right sided tumors. This is a key finding in that it allows clinicians to understand the rate of the disease progression and then base treatment on underlying biology.

Another example would be our joint effort with the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, which resulted in the discovery of a biomarker at certain levels that identify which patients are likely to benefit from stem cell transplantation. Stem cell transplantation is a lengthy, costly procedure so understanding who benefits is crucial.

Another area where causal machine learning can impact precision medicine is in Central Nervous System (CNS) disorders, which are difficult to develop therapeutics for because the underlying biology is so complex. GNS leveraged data from the Michael J. Fox Foundation to discover genetic and molecular markers that determine faster motor progression of the disease. This helps accelerate the clinical trial process and the development of effective drugs for Parkinson patients.

Q: What areas in healthcare will benefit the most from AI/Machine Learning applications and when will that be?

A: The simple answer is that we will all benefit. But it’s worth noting that there are many different kinds of AI and applying the right approach to the right problem is key. The AI we developed is called causal machine learning and it is different than others because it discovers new information in the data and allows you to run simulations to discover the outcomes of different treatments. Other types of AI scan available information and make correlations.

In terms of the healthcare industry, we work closely with biopharma companies to help them understand how their drugs work in the real world. As you know clinical trials are conducted in a very controlled environment, but we can run in silico clinical trials, ( clinical trials in the computer) using real world data to understand the mechanisms of action of a particular drug, determine which individual patients are going to benefit from it, how combinations of drugs work and unravel the underlying biology of disease.

We also work with health plans to leverage our AI to identify which care interventions are going to work best for which member and help them understand how their providers and system models are working. This allows health plans to provide personalized care pathways for its members while controlling costs.

Q: What are some of the challenges to realize AI/Machine learning in healthcare?

A: We’re living at a unique time in healthcare. We can now identify every gene variant across an entire genome. We can measure the expression of molecular changes in tens of thousands of cells. We can use advanced imaging technologies to peer into organs and physiology and monitor the state and health of your microbiome across an entire lifetime. But the challenge lies in unraveling the complexity of biology in a way that’s transparent and explainable. In order for healthcare to advance, you need to understand the “why”, why are certain cause and effect relationships happening, and which biomarkers or genetic mutations are driving the progression of disease. So the challenge comes down to leveraging the right technology for the right problem.

Q: How close are we with successfully using AI for the purpose of mining big data?

A: We’re there now. The world is creating two and a half million terabytes of data every day – and nearly 30 percent of that is being generated by the healthcare industry thanks to the explosion of EHR, digital imaging, natural language processing, genetic data and connected medical devices.
The power and potential of AI technology has come a long way, and it is being recognized as a technology that will have real-world impact. The FDA offered its vote of confidence by encouraging the use of AI and other digital tools in medicine and drug development. The 21st Century Cures Act signed into law in 2016, was designed in part to accelerate drug development and includes the expansion of drug labels through the use of analytics and AI to generate real world evidence from observational data, without a new clinical trial. We are using AI and big data today to improve healthcare and it will only get smarter over time.

Q: What is your outlook or vision for use of AI/Machine Learning in healthcare?

A: My outlook is extremely positive. We now have the capability to discover the underlying mechanisms driving disease, so we can optimize treatments and design and develop more effective drugs to battle them. And we can do it in a much shorter amount of time which has real life impacts for patients. Given that we now have the capability to unravel our biology, and predict how to intervene to get to the best possible outcomes, our challenge then becomes how do we apply this to every disease and every aspect of our health, including how we age? I want to figure out a way to get there faster. Not decades from now, but right now. I look forward to a time where we can predict serious illness or life-threatening events well before they happen and actually prevent them.

Q: Is there anything you would like to share with the PMWC audience?

A: We are on the precipice of making precision medicine a reality. We now have all the ingredients necessary to unravel human biology, better understand disease progression and how treatments work based on an individual’s biology. The ability to match the right treatment to the right patient at the right time; that’s a gamechanger and one that will benefit all of us.

Interview with Ilan Kirsch of Adaptive Biotechnologies

Q: The Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded recently to James Allison and Tasuku Honjo for their work on unleashing the body’s immune system to attack cancer, a breakthrough that has led to an entirely new class of drugs and brought lasting remissions to many patients who had run out of options. The Nobel committee hailed their accomplishments as establishing “an entirely new principle for cancer therapy.” What is your first-hand experience the impact that those new drugs had on patients?

A: For decades cancer was viewed as solely a cell-autonomous condition.

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BMS buys Celgene | Lilly buys Loxo Oncology – Does this Signal a Return to Strong Deal-Making Activities in 2019?

Bristol-Myers Squibb’s blockbuster $74B deal to buy Celgene creates an oncology powerhouse amid industrywide excitement about the rapidly evolving science and explosive growth of the sector. The agreement could signal a return to deal-making for the pharmaceutical industry in the $133B global oncology therapeutics market.

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Interview with Gini Deshpande of NuMedii

Q: What need is NuMedii addressing?

A: NuMedii, has been pioneering the use of Big Data, artificial intelligence (AI) and systems biology since 2010 to accelerate the discovery of precision therapies to address high unmet medical needs. Artificial Intelligence approaches are a natural fit to harness Big Data as they provide a framework to ‘train’ computers to recognize patterns and sift through vast amounts of new and existing genomic

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Interview with Minnie Sarwal of UCSF

Q: Genomic medicine is entering more hospitals and bringing with it non-invasive technology that can be used to better target and treat diseases. What are some key milestones that contributed to this trend?

A: Completion of complete sequence data from the human genome project, and the advances in proteomic, microRNA and epigenetic assays added a layer of pathway biology to the understanding of human diseases.

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Interview with Shidong Jia of Predicine

Q: Once sequencing has been validated as a clinical solution via trusted workflows, and coinciding with the technological developments driving costs lower, we can expect accelerated human genome profiling for clinical Dx. How soon, do you think, will we see accelerated growth and what can we expect?

A: We will see accelerated human genome profiling for clinical Dx in 2019 and the coming years as more biomarker-based cancer drugs are gaining approval.

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Interview with Iya Khalil of GNS Healthcare

Q: Artificial intelligence (AI) techniques have sent vast waves across healthcare, even fueling an active discussion of whether AI doctors will eventually replace human physicians in the future. Do you believe that human physicians will be replaced by machines in the foreseeable future? What are your thoughts?

A: I think that there’s a lot of speculation and uncertainty around AI, but I don’t foresee a time when we won’t need physicians.

Read More

Interview with Ilya Michael Rachman of Immix Biopharma Inc.

Q: The Nobel Price in Medicine was awarded recently to James Allison and Tasuku for their work on unleashing the body’s immune system to attack cancer, a breakthrough that has led to an entirely new class of drugs and brought lasting remissions to many patients who had run out of options. The Nobel committee hailed their accomplishments as establishing “an entirely new principle for cancer therapy.” Besides CAR T-cell therapy what do you think next generation immunotherapies will look like to successfully combat cancer?

A: The next generation of immunotherapies will build on the insights discovered by immunologists like James Allison and Tasuku Honjo and extend them to modify the body’s response to tumors.

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Join me to Kick off PMWC Silicon Valley in the Santa Clara Convention Center, Focusing on Every Element of Precision Medicine

My team worked in collaboration with Bill Dalton, Kim Blackwell, Atul Butte / India Hook Barnard, Nancy Davidson and Sharon Terry to create a program that touches every component of precision medicine while bringing together all of its key stakeholders. Leading participating institutions including Stanford Health Care, UCSF, Duke Health, Duke University, John Hopkins University, University of Michigan and more will share their learnings and experiences and their successes and challenges, as they make precision medicine the new standard of care for all.

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Interview with Dominic Eisinger of Myriad RBM

Q: The Nobel Price in Medicine was awarded recently to James Allison and Tasuku for their work on unleashing the body’s immune system to attack cancer, a breakthrough that has led to an entirely new class of drugs and brought lasting remissions to many patients who had run out of options. The Nobel committee hailed their accomplishments as establishing “an entirely new principle for cancer therapy.” Besides CAR T-cell therapy what do you think next generation immunotherapies will look like to successfully combat cancer?

A: Next generation immunotherapies include CAR-Ts, TCRs, cancer vaccines, ADCs, bi-specific antibodies, and checkpoint inhibitors.

Read More

2018 Year in Review Milestones: Stakeholder Partnerships Carving Precision Medicine’s Future

2018 has clearly been a year when significant opportunities intersected with strong partnerships to yield advancements. In particular, the clinical advancements that were realized are a testimony to stakeholders working together to deliver on promises affecting major aspects of precision medicine. 2018 has clearly been a year when significant opportunities intersected with strong partnerships to yield advancements.

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Interview with Lisa Alderson of Genome Medical

Q: Tell us a little bit about Genome Medical. What market need is Genome Medical addressing and how?

A: Genome Medical is a telegenomics company that is bridging the gap between available, genetic expertise and the clinical application of genomics.

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Interview with Nasir Bhanpuri of Virta Health

Q: What need is Virta Health addressing?

A: Virta Health delivers an evidence-based treatment to safely and sustainably reverse type 2 diabetes without the use of medications or surgery. In the U.S. alone, type 2 diabetes and prediabetes affects 115 million people, and the economic burden is well-over $300 billion and growing.

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Interview with Jussi Paananen of Blueprint Genetics Inc.

Q: Artificial intelligence (AI) techniques have sent vast waves across healthcare, even fueling an active discussion of whether AI doctors will eventually replace human physicians in the future. Do you believe that human physicians will be replaced by machines in the foreseeable future? What are your thoughts?

A: Right now, we are looking at merely a fragment of clinical work that could be replaced by a machine.

Read More

Our Healthcare System Clearly Needs a Revamp And It’s Happening!

Patients are demanding an exceptional healthcare experience; one that makes care more. At PMWC, we can sense a revolution in the healthcare system on the horizon with fee-for-service losing dominance and innovative technology playing a key role in healthcare delivery.

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Interview with Sebastian Kronmueller of Siemens Healthineers

Q: Artificial intelligence (AI) techniques have sent vast waves across healthcare, even fueling an active discussion of whether AI doctors will eventually replace human physicians in the future. Do you believe that human physicians will be replaced by machines in the foreseeable future? What are your thoughts?

A: Human physicians will certainly not be replaced by machine learning or AI technologies.

Read More
Johns Hopkins
University Of Michigan

The Precision Medicine World Conference (PMWC), in its 16th installment, will take place in the Santa Clara Convention Center (Silicon Valley) on January 20-23, 2019. The program will traverse innovative technologies, thriving initiatives, and clinical case studies that enable the translation of precision medicine into direct improvements in health care. Conference attendees will have an opportunity to learn first-hand about the latest developments and advancements in precision medicine and cutting-edge new strategies and solutions that are changing how patients are treated.

Agenda highlights:

  • Five tracks will showcase sessions on the latest advancements in precision medicine which include, but are not limited to:
    • AI & Data Science Showcase
    • Clinical & Research Tools Showcase
    • Clinical Dx Showcase
    • Creating Clinical Value with Liquid Biopsy ctDNA, etc.
    • Digital Health/Health and Wellness
    • Digital Phenotyping
    • Diversity in Precision Medicine
    • Drug Development (PPPs)
    • Early Days of Life Sequencing
    • Emerging Technologies in PM
    • Emerging Therapeutic Showcase
    • FDA Efforts to Accelerate PM
    • Gene Editing
    • Genomic Profiling Showcase
    • Immunotherapy Sessions & Showcase
    • Implementation into Health Care Delivery
    • Large Scale Bio-data Resources to Support Drug Development (PPPs)
    • Microbial Profiling Showcase
    • Microbiome
    • Neoantigens
    • Next-Gen. Workforce of PM
    • Non-Clinical Services Showcase
    • Pharmacogenomics
    • Point-of Care Dx Platform
    • Precision Public Health
    • Rare Disease Diagnosis
    • Resilience
    • Robust Clinical Decision Support Tools
    • Wellness and Aging Showcase

Agenda highlights:

    • Five tracks will showcase sessions on the latest advancements in precision medicine which include, but are not limited to:
      • AI & Data Science Showcase
      • Clinical & Research Tools Showcase
      • Clinical Dx Showcase
      • Creating Clinical Value with Liquid Biopsy ctDNA, etc.
      • Digital Health/Health and Wellness
      • Digital Phenotyping
      • Diversity in Precision Medicine
      • Drug Development (PPPs)
      • Early Days of Life Sequencing
      • Emerging Technologies in PM
      • Emerging Therapeutic Showcase
      • FDA Efforts to Accelerate PM
      • Gene Editing / CRISPR
      • Genomic Profiling Showcase
      • Immunotherapy Sessions & Showcase
      • Implementation into Health Care Delivery
      • Large Scale Bio-data Resources to Support Drug Development (PPPs)
      • Microbial Profiling Showcase
      • Microbiome
      • Neoantigens
      • Next-Gen. Workforce of PM
      • Non-Clinical Services Showcase
      • Pharmacogenomics
      • Point-of Care Dx Platform
      • Precision Public Health
      • Rare Disease Diagnosis
      • Resilience
      • Robust Clinical Decision Support Tools
      • Wellness and Aging Showcase
  • Luminary and Pioneer Awards, honoring individuals who contributed, and continue to contribute, to the field of Precision Medicine
  • 2000+ multidisciplinary attendees, from across the entire spectrum of healthcare, representing different types of companies, technologies, and medical centers with leadership roles in precision medicine
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