Health ‘ecosystem’ brings research, technology together

By Jenni Spinner contact

- Last updated on GMT

(maxkabakov/iStock via Getty Images Plus)
(maxkabakov/iStock via Getty Images Plus)

Related tags: Research, Technology, Data management

An innovation-minded nonprofit organization aims to foster collaboration among scientists and tech minds, to fuel discovery and accelerate therapies.

Life sciences technology is constantly evolving; researchers continually seek out ways to better understand disease and discover new treatments. Powering Precision Health (PPH) is an organization working to bring these players together to collaborate, so that they can more effectively work toward their missions.

Outsourcing-Pharma (OSP) recently spoke with PPH founder Kevin Hrusovsky (KH) about the organization’s work and how such collaborations can benefit researchers, pharma firms, patients and other stakeholders.

OSP: How did the PPH ecosystem get started?

KH: PPH is a nonprofit that I founded five years ago and consists of a robust, global network of leading minds on the cutting edge of healthcare. PPH is an executive think tank designed to transform healthcare.

Addressing key therapeutic areas including neurology, cardiology, oncology and infectious disease, PPH unveils groundbreaking approaches for the prevention, early detection and diagnosis, and personalized treatment of disease. Starting as the nation’s first precision health summit designed as the premiere forum for world-leading researchers and clinicians, it continues to evolve and grow as the global epicenter for transforming healthcare with the use of non-invasive biomarkers.

PPH started as an opportunity for the top scientific minds to come together to collaborate on the many seminal advances in measuring biomarkers minimally invasively, understanding their role in health, personalized treatment and disease prevention from a global community of leaders. Since its inception the utility of biomarkers has only grown more apparent. And yet, we’ve only scratched the surface of what they can tell us about our biology, disease progression and the clinical value of new treatments and vaccines.

This mission has never been more important than it is today, and we’re seeing the PPH ecosystem come together in incredible ways to share knowledge, advance research efforts and, most importantly, uncover critical linkages across all health disciples – cardiology and  neurology in particular – that are key to driving therapeutic breakthroughs and vaccines for COVID-19 forward.

OSP: Who are the people involved, and how did they become involved—did you recruit, were they in on initial conversations?

KH: PPH is unique and revolutionary, as it’s a community of industry visionaries and luminaries interested in information-sharing though vehicles like our webinars, summits, etc. The community includes innovators, scientists, physicians, medical professionals, advocates, government officials and regulators that collectively address the enormous opportunity defined as precision health.

PPH provides a forum for leading subject matter experts to unveil breakthrough medical and scientific research and collaborate on innovative diagnostics and treatments. PPH participants are eager to participate and come to us mostly on recommendations from the scientific community, consisting of a mix of customers and partners who are making disruptive shifts in the industry and who wanted to be involved in the movement.

As the movement has grown, so too has the ecosystem, with mindshare comprised of the most qualified stakeholders who have come together with the specific goal of advancing a new frontier in medicine that spans the entire continuum from health to disease. 

OSP: How does it operate?

KH: In the past, the PPH ecosystem would convene for the Powering Precision Health Summit to discuss key scientific findings and explore the future of the field. This summit brings together every walk of life that can impact the ability to bring technological innovations to patients and to the greater populations quicker; the quality of attendees that assemble and the meaningful connections they make with one another is what makes this conference so unique.

This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen a lot of value in virtual events. Due to concerns around large gatherings, we will most likely not host an in-person event in 2020 – but our community hasn’t missed a beat. Between podcasts, webinars and information sharing to beat this awful virus, we’ve seen the PPH community grow and flourish.

OSP: What are your short- and long-term goals, and the overall mission?

The goal of PPH is to advance the innovations that truly move the needle in realizing the vision of precision health through rigorous debate and collaboration. The mission is to inform and inspire the incredible team of 500+ medical professionals and scientific innovators of the vast potential for ultra-sensitive and precise molecular measurements of life’s variables with the end goal of eradicating some of today’s most lethal diseases.

PPH’s vision is threefold:

  1. To transform how we approach health, from scrambling to cure diseases after the fact, to prevention or detection of disease long before symptoms appear and when conditions are most curable
  2. To deliver greater efficiency and precision in drug development toward personalizing treatment for maximum efficacy and minimum toxicity
  3. To recognize and eliminate environmental and lifestyle factors to reduce and avoid disease triggers

When it comes to the healthcare system, our country can agree on one thing: we need change. Precision health must be considered in that change. It’s critical we move from our reactive “sick care” system to true proactive healthcare. Symptoms tell us when we’re sick, but how do we measure our health?

The driving force is the technology that not only identifies and detects sickness, but measures and tracks health. This is game-changing and is the foundation of the entire PPH ecosystem--it’s all about collaboration and what we can learn from each other to create a groundswell of new opportunities for seeing disease earlier, leading to new strategies for drug development, therapy response and prevention.

OSP: How is PPH being utilized to address the current health crisis?

OSP_PPHthinktank_KH
Kevin Hrusovsky, founder, Powering Precision Health

KH: The US continues to have the highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases of any nation, and forecasts show the numbers will continue to increase, presenting a rally cry for collaboration and catalyzing cutting-edge research to fight this pandemic.

The PPH ecosystem quickly harnessed our collective knowledge, resources and energy to progress important biomarker innovations in the fight against COVID-19. As a first step, we launched a series of Think Tank Webinars designed to stimulate and mobilize biomarker innovations; within just a few weeks, the PPH Think Tank pivoted full force to infectious disease research, harnessing a broad network that encompasses longstanding immunology experts and top minds from across the healthcare spectrum who are applying tenets and research from other therapeutic categories to tackle the fight from all sides.

Many of the hundreds of attendees and contributors to the Think Tank are on the frontlines, working directly with ICU COVID-19 patients in hot zones across the United States, Europe and Asia. Bringing this dispersed group of experts together to share experiences, findings and lessons learned has been invaluable in the war against the virus and in arming ourselves with foundational knowledge that could protect against future pandemics.

By harnessing the ultra-sensitive power of Simoa technology – including its analytical instruments, infectious disease assays and Accelerator Lab testing and assay development CRO services – we are helping stem the tide by addressing three critical ‘waves’ of disease pathology:

  1. Disease onset and viral load
  2. Innate immune response: prediction and early intervention against life-threatening cytokine release syndrome
  3. Adaptive immune response: antibody assessment via serology testing

The collective action of the PPH ecosystem is enabling all of these avenues powered by one single technology (and all three aspects of viral evaluation – viral detection, innate and adaptive immunity) to be explored at high speed, with the potential to trigger a rapid commercialization model that could bring new advancements, including a better understanding of the virus and data-driven insights to fight against it directly to the frontlines.

Now more than ever, the world needs answers that can bolster its arsenal of attack strategies. Years in the making and no stranger to tackling intractable and devastating diseases, the PPH network’s quick mobilization and collective efforts are fueling scientific advancement and bolstering rapid commercialization; it’s the interactions, collaborations and shared learnings of this network that are changing headlines with science.

By flexing the full might and breadth of the PPH Think Tank, we can shine a light on this disease’s pathology and turn the tide of the pandemic – giving people their lives back and preventing this from happening again. Moreover, we can demonstrate the power of collaboration across research, technology and policy to accelerate critical medical advances.

PPH is working to create a framework for the future, showing the world what can be achieved when we come together and rethink established healthcare norms. These efforts and the connections we form during this fight could revolutionize how we approach care forever and bring about new strategies for tackling all manner of illness, from infectious diseases like COVID-19 to neurodegenerative diseases, cancers, cardiac conditions and more.

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