LSZ Impact - The value of data

Gruppenfoto der Organisatoren der Life Science Zurich Impact Conference 2023

The 3rd Life Science Zurich Impact Conference was dedicated to the topic «Data for Health» on May 23. Around 350 participants took the opportunity to learn about current trends and to network.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Data will play a central role in the medicine of the future. Data makes it possible to better understand diseases and develop new therapies. The opportunities and challenges of data-based medicine were discussed at the conference in keynote speeches, parallel sessions and a panel discussion. In addition, an Investor Track, networking meetings and an exhibition space offered a variety of networking opportunities.

More precise therapies

The development in the direction of precision medicine was at the center as a fundamental trend. More and more precise data, as well as new technologies, are needed to better tailor treatments to the individual. Such technological innovations include organoids, as Professor Hans Clevers, Head of Research and Early Development and member of the extended Corporate Executive Committee at Roche, explained.

Bernd Bodenmiller, Professor of Quantitative Biomedicine at ETH and the University of Zurich, then provided insights into data-based methods for more precise tumor diagnostics. His team is working - in the meantime also within the framework of the start-up Navignostics - on the incorporation of single-cell data into «digital tumors» in order to simulate the course of the disease and the effects of therapy.

In the parallel sessions, numerous projects were presented that aim to improve medicine with the help of data. The challenges repeatedly mentioned were data management, data interoperability and privacy protection - or the question of who should own the data. Common, cross-institutional data standards are all the more important, the conference emphasized. This is the only way to overcome the isolated «data silos» that have existed up to now.

Professor Philipp Fürnstahl and Dr. Sebastiano Caprara reported on how such data standardization is to be achieved at Balgrist University Hospital in Zurich. With the OR-X project, a surgical research and learning center will also be available at the clinic from August 2023. Among other things, new surgical technologies such as augmented reality, robotics and artificial intelligence will be tested there. The project is correspondingly digitized and data-based.

The importance of data becomes clear at the latest when it is missing. This is the case, for example, in the field of gender medicine, as Catherine Gebhard, professor at the Inselspital in Bern, reported. The «gender data gap» can be seen, for example, in the fact that men are usually overrepresented in studies and women suffer more often from the side effects of treatments. According to Susanne Gedamke, executive director of the Swiss Patients' Organization, there are also blind spots with regard to patients' perspectives. Little is known, for example, about how they evaluate medical services.

Resources needed

In the panel discussion, it became clear once again that it's about more than just data. A good infrastructure, a governance framework, and a societal understanding of data sharing are equally important to making meaningful use of health data. This requires the appropriate financial resources. Overall, the panelists were confident that much would be achieved in the coming years with regard to the further digitization of healthcare and the use of data in medicine. At the end of the conference, the two start-ups aiEndoscopic and Positrigo received an award for the best presentations of their companies in the Investor Track.

3. Life Science Zurich Impact Conference

The conference took place on May 23 at Technopark Zurich. It was organized by the Life Science Zurich Business Network, the Location Promotion Department of the Office of Economic Affairs and Labor of the Canton of Zurich and the Bio-Technopark Schlieren-Zurich. Partners of the conference were Life Science Zurich, the City of Zurich, ETH Zurich, University of Zurich, ZHAW as well as Innosuisse. The conference was supported by the following sponsors: Horgen Labs Innovation Campus, Roche, Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics, Superlab Suisse, University Hospital Zurich and Wyss Zurich.

German text: Adrian Ritter

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