"Unifying patient-level precision medicine and public health through mathematics: using multiscale networks for data-rich, personalised healthcare on a population scale."

Precision healthcare aims to tune interventions to the variability of individuals in factors like genes, lifestyle and environment. However, diseases, individuals and their social contexts are diverse; different treatments work differently for different individuals, groups and socio-environmental contexts.

Advances in ‘omics technologies, imaging, and molecular medicine mean that individuals can be characterised with rich, high-dimensional data. In addition, there is increasing access to data about groups and their socio-environmental contexts, as reflected in social network, demographic and epidemiological data. Integrating strata of data from the individual to the population, in an interpretable form can provide the basis for improved detection and intervention tools in medical science and clinical practice enriching decision-making in healthcare and minimising the inefficiencies of inadequate stratification.

The EPSRC Centre for Mathematics of Precision Healthcare will provide a venue for new mathematics, new data analysis pipelines, and a genuinely interdisciplinary approach by bringing together Imperial’s mathematicians, engineers and computer scientists with medical scientists and clinicians to address such issues across different areas in healthcare, from patient journeys to population-level analyses. 

Shout outs

"I want…a new era of medicine, one that delivers the right treatment at the right time.”

President Obama 20 January 2015 State of Union address announcing a $215 million investment in Precision Medicine

Science students in the lab

Precision health is not only about optimal interventions on individuals; it needs to characterise and take into account processes on the population as a whole. Our aim is to analyse dynamic interconnected feature spaces unifying patient-level precision medicine with public health.

‘‘Precision medicine — prevention and treatment strategies that take individual variability into account — is not new…but the prospect of applying this concept broadly has been dramatically improved by the recent development of large-scale biologic databases… What is needed now is a broad research program to encourage creative approaches to precision medicine, test them rigorously, and ultimately use them to build the evidence base needed to guide clinical practice.”

Francis Collins and Harold Varmus (NIH) New England Journal of Medicine 4 March 2015