Attended by 150 participants from 18 countries the HARMONY project successfully kicked off with a two-days meeting at the University of Salamanca on January 16 and 17.
Salamanca, January 19, 2017
HARMONY is a European Network of Excellence that captures, integrates, analyses and seeks to harmonize Big Data on various hematological malignancies.
The Big Data platform that will be developed is foreseen to enable the rapid definition of promising treatment strategies for individual patients.
This goal puts HARMONY right at the heart of the exciting new science-based field of personalized medicine.
“Combining data available from clinical trials as well as real world patients allows us to do more advanced analyses on possible treatment options that could be effective for individual patient or categories of patients”, said Jesús María Hernandez Rivas, project coordinator of HARMONY and Professor in Hematology at the University Medical Hospital of Salamanca, Spain.
To showcase the impact of Big Data analyses on possible treatment options a ‘proof of principle’ study on AML was presented by Dr. Lars Bullinger from the University of Ulm, Germany. This inspired the discussion amongst participants on how to apply these analyses in the other disease areas.
“Big Data doesn’t mean collecting only large quantities. The quality of the data is much more important. Therefore HARMONY is open to associate partners that can provide high quality data”, Professor Guillermo Sanz, co-chair of HARMONY and Head of Clinical Hematology at University Hospital La Fe of Valencia, Spain explained.
During the meeting concrete action plans for the first year of this 5-year project were discussed on e.g. the involvement of the patient community; the collection of data; the construction of the Big Data platform; the legal and ethical framework that has to be taken into account; and more, with the goal to rapidly increase patient access.
“With 51 partners including 7 pharmaceutical companies and over 65 associated members it is important to have a common understanding about the tasks and roles of each and everyone in the project”, said Pam Bacon from Celgene and member of the HARMONY Executive Committee and EPFIA co-lead.
“And that is exactly what we discussed in Salamanca during the breakout sessions of the in total 8 HARMONY Work Packages”, Tayyab (Tay) Salimullah from Novartis explained, who is also a member of the HARMONY Executive Committee and EFPIA project leader. “A Paradigm shift towards value is needed. The starting point is to focus on improving patient outcomes and drive healthcare efficiency”, said Tay during the opening.