Why Imaging Biomarkers Represent the Next Generation of Personalized Drug Development

April 30, 2021 | Coverage

By Rose Higgins

Much of the healthcare industry is familiar with genetic biomarkers—which use molecular data to help predict certain health conditions—and have led to critical advances toward a new era of “personalized” medicine.

Less appreciated in the industry is the role that imaging biomarkers, which are generated through the science of radiomics (think: advanced imaging analytics), are likely to play in the future of personalized drug development. Today, private industry and academia are collaborating on research to discover and develop new imaging biomarkers to add a new layer to the personalization of medicine. Radiomics, which leverages artificial intelligence to collect and quantify medical-imaging data, enables drug developers to discover patterns and similarities that would otherwise be unobtainable by profiling patients’ tumors and lesions across multiple dimensions.

As a result of advanced imaging analytics data, radiomics researchers are today investigating at a deep level what is happening in the cellular structure of lesions and tumors. This research has two overarching goals. First, researchers are endeavoring to identify the unique attributes of a tumor or lesion’s biology. Once this data has been obtained, researchers can identify patterns that may indicate how a patient will respond to a specific treatment. Second, researchers are looking to find real-world imaging evidence that predictions and outcomes for certain diseases are tied directly to specific biomarkers.

Combined, radiomic and genomic biomarkers will deliver significant and positive changes related to how clinical trials are structured and managed.