ESMO Congress 2022 insights: the utility of digital tools in translational research

28 Sep 2022

By Uzma Asghar

The use of innovative technology and integration of digital health into clinical practice was a hot topic for discussion across different sessions, from oncology leaders across different cancer types.

Scientists recognised that a major challenge for translational research is not just generating vast amounts of research data, but mostly the need to develop new technologies to integrate this diverse information to generate meaningful and actionable insights.

Much of the artificial intelligence (AI) techniques presented at ESMO Congress 2022 were developed using historical data, predominantly in breast cancer, often incorporating image analysis into biomarker predictions.

Development and validation of predictive technologies is paramount in advancing precision medicine, for which data sharing across the oncology community is essential, as was highlighted by Dr Samra Turajlic (Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and The Francis Crick Institute), recipient of this year’s ESMO Award for Translational Research, in a recent interview with ESMO.

Very few of the novel technologies presented at the Congress reported utility in clinical practice. Those co-designed with clinicians were more likely to be implemented into the clinic and integrated into electronic health care systems, highlighting the need for co-design in the adoption of innovation. This included not only clinicians but also patients themselves, who following the pandemic are more proactive in shaping their treatments.

Dr Deborah Schrag from the Memorial Sloan Kettering presented an outstanding keynote lecture titled “What is the Future of Digital Health Technologies for Cancer Patients?”, describing how technological innovation could be applied to help improve patients which should be achieved by 2025 by achieving the following:

  • Providing patients access to their prognosis information

  • Using digital tools to tailor information for age, comorbidity, histology and biomarkers

As ESMO Congress 2022 showcased, digital tools and predictive algorithms have the enormous potential to improve cancer patient outcomes through advanced analytics and smarter biomarker predictions. The existing models demonstrate the need for a new approach that incentivises cooperation over competition and promotes joint benefit for all parties. This can only be achieved through collaboration and data sharing across all stakeholders ⏤ from academia and industry to clinicians and patients.

Find out how Concr is working with partners to develop and validate safer and more robust biomarkers here.