COTA President and CEO Miruna Sasu on the VatorNews Podcast

COTA combines oncology expertise with technology and analytics to organize real-world data

Steven Loeb speaks with Miruna Sasu, President and CEO of COTA, a company that combines oncology expertise with technology and analytics to organize real-world data to guide decisions and actions.

Our goal is to understand the technological breakthroughs that are radically changing healthcare: the way we screen, diagnose and treat disease and measure outcomes. And whether technology helps or hurts our physical and mental well-being.

Interview Highlights:

  • Sasu’s grandfather was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer in the late 90s. He was given three months to live and told to get his affairs in order, but he was able to get into the treatment arm of a clinical trial, and it saved his life. He underwent a trial conducted by Bristol Myers Squibb for about two years, then went into remission, living another 30 years. Her grandmother was not so lucky: she was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and died five years after that diagnosis. This is part of the reason Sasu joined COTA: she is a strong believer in using real-world data and electronic medical records to make sense of patients and their journeys, and to understand how to better position treatments. so that everyone can follow his grandfather’s recommendations. story.
  • Electronic medical record data needs to be cleansed, structured, and placed into large datasets to be ready for analysis. There is no database that contains them all. In fact, for confidentiality reasons and due to certain logistical problems, it is very difficult to access the medical records themselves, even if you want to analyze them. So, siloing is a big problem, as is fragmentation. Many healthcare provider organizations not only don’t leverage their own data, they also don’t know where or even where to start.
  • Cancer is a very difficult disease to treat because each sub-cancer is based on an organ system. Because of that, you can’t treat cancer as one disease, it’s many, many, many diseases. There are hundreds and hundreds of cancer subtypes and they are very, very different from each other, and they are treated completely differently. To be able to collect that data, you have to know where to go, you have to understand where these patients are being treated, and how these patients are being treated and the journeys they go through, which are quite different from each other.
  • There are a number of different things COTA does with its data, including creating datasets for large pharmaceutical and biotech companies for clinical trials. COTA augments clinical trial control arms, which means it screens patients and matches them to clinical trial inclusion/exclusion criteria. And once that’s done, it prepares datasets for the FDA.
  • The data that COTA keeps all goes back to the healthcare provider who can use that data to query their own set of records. For example, one question a medical professional might ask is how many breast cancer patients he has seen in the last year. Without a clean set of data, they don’t really know, so COTA provides them with the data and a system on top of the data that performs such calculations.
  • COTA does not make recommendations, and the healthcare professional is the one who should make that recommendation based on that patient and their overall situation. He creates statistics so that it’s easier for that doctor to make this type of recommendation, which COTA calls clinical recommendations, and he wraps everything in statistics, but ultimately the decision is the decision of the health care provider in agreement with the patient as to what they are going to do next on the stage of the disease.

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