Matthew Altman, MD: Challenges to Systems Biology Approach in Clinical Medicine

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In this interview segment at AAAAI, Altman went into a discussion on challenges to systems biology approaches for allergic disease.

During another HCPLive interview segment, Matthew Altman, MD, discussed some of the challenges in using the systems biology approach in clinical medicine at the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) 2023 Annual Meeting in San Antonio, TX.

Altman works as a certified physician for the University of Washington (UW) Medical Center’s Allergy, Asthma and Immunology clinic, and is also a UW assistant professor of allergy and infectious diseases.

“So one of the challenges, for example, is just, it's a huge amount of data,” he said. “And if you think about clinical medicine, it's not terribly realistic to think about generating all this omics data and analyzing it in a moment's notice to treat a patient in real time.”

Altman further described some of the challenges in applying systems biology approaches.

“One of the ways around that is we use a lot of these new feature selection, machine learning, deep learning approaches to say ‘Alright, of the…hundreds of thousands of things we profiled, what are the features? How can you distill that down to the key 3, or 5, or 10, or a dozen features that are critically predictive of an outcome.”

He added that after this distillation is done, one can translate that into clinical medicine. Altman then went into other challenges he had observed.

“As I mentioned in the beginning, these technologies are constantly evolving,” he explained. “And that's great, because they get better, they get more sensitive, they get more reliable, but it also means that it's a little bit of a moving target, because with every technological advance, there's something of a ‘batch effect,’ we call it, where the relative expression profiles, or the relative measurements might change from a prior technology.”

To find out more from Altman’s AAAAI presentation, view the interview segment above.