Toward precision healthcare: context and mathematical challenges

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Authors

  • Caroline Colijn
  • Nick Jones
  • Iain Johnston
  • Sophia Yaliraki
  • Mauricio Barahona

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • Department of Mathematics, Imperial College LondonLondon, UK; EPSRC Centre for Mathematics of Precision Healthcare, Imperial College LondonLondon, UK.
  • EPSRC Centre for Mathematics of Precision Healthcare, Imperial College LondonLondon, UK; School of Biosciences, University of BirminghamBirmingham, UK.
  • EPSRC Centre for Mathematics of Precision Healthcare, Imperial College LondonLondon, UK; Department of Chemistry, Imperial College LondonLondon, UK.

Abstract

Precision medicine refers to the idea of delivering the right treatment to the right patient at the right time, usually with a focus on a data-centered approach to this task. In this perspective piece, we use the term "precision healthcare" to describe the development of precision approaches that bridge from the individual to the population, taking advantage of individual-level data, but also taking the social context into account. These problems give rise to a broad spectrum of technical, scientific, policy, ethical and social challenges, and new mathematical techniques will be required to meet them. To ensure that the science underpinning "precision" is robust, interpretable and well-suited to meet the policy, ethical and social questions that such approaches raise, the mathematical methods for data analysis should be transparent, robust, and able to adapt to errors and uncertainties. In particular, precision methodologies should capture the complexity of data, yet produce tractable descriptions at the relevant resolution while preserving intelligibility and traceability, so that they can be used by practitioners to aid decision-making. Through several case studies in this domain of precision healthcare, we argue that this vision requires the development of new mathematical frameworks, both in modeling and in data analysis and interpretation.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)136
JournalFrontiers in Physiology
Volume8
Publication statusPublished - 21 Mar 2017