From the 20th to the 22nd of September, 2017, a conference dedicated to innovation in pediatric medicine has been held in Rome, Italy: "Shaping the Future of Pediatrics"
“Shaping” has been a gathering of experts coming from different contexts. A diverse variety of professionals participated in the conference, brilliantly representing the multidisciplinary character which is a fundamental attribute of innovation.
The conference was divided in 4 sections, dedicated to 4 major themes that will shape the future of pediatrics:
Interesting insights emerged from each section: from personalised cancer therapy to metagenomics, from the role of patient communities to platforms dedicated to chronic patients, from data-based vaccine communication to stories of successful pediatric innovation centers.
A central section of the conference was dedicated to the changes that big data will bring to pediatric medicine. Big data will allow to profile patients with unprecedented detail, through deep genomic, through an increasingly complex description of phenotypes, through the expanding and promising analysis of the exposome, which is a description of the environment where the genotype and phenotype express (including a large variety of data: data from social networks, web searches, news, data from sensors, data on drugs etc.)
Technological advances in data storage are crucial to allow all these changes. A specific attention has been dedicated to the potentials of artificial intelligence and to machine learning for analysing big data and discovering patterns and relationships that are not understandable through standard analysis techniques.
The conference was inspired by iSPI, the International Society for Pediatric Innovation (iSPI). iSPI is a network of pediatric hospitals, mostly in US, focused and engaged on pediatric innovation. The principle of iSPI include data sharing and use of advanced computational resources. The conference has represented a first step to expansion of iSPI to Europe. The VPHi has been considered as a natural partner of iSPI. The VPHi executive director, Liesbet Geris, has participated as a speaker in the conference with a lecture on big data, and has been invited in the iSPI meeting for strengthening future collaborations.
Additional information on the conference can be found here