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PROTOTYPE
Digital “Clones” Customize Cancer Treatmentf

If each one of us is biologically unique, why are our ailments so often treated with one-size-fits-all drug regimens? Optimata, an Israeli company based in Ramat Gan, aims to help doctors customize cancer treatments by building a software “clone” of each patient. The company’s system starts with a mathematical model that incorporates several hundred equations representing different bodily processes. Doctors then plug in data specific to the patient and his or her disease – the growth rates of the tumor and blood vessels, for example. The software allows the doctor to try out in the digital realm various combinations of drugs and dosing schedules in order to find the treatment regimen that will do the best job of fighting the cancer with the fewest side effects. Researchers are currently testing the system on breast cancer patients at the UK’s Nottingham City Hospital. If those trials are successful, Optimata could begin marketing the software as a workstation tool for physicians by 2007. The company is also developing digital treatment-optimization tools for diseases other than cancer.

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