8. Innovative designs for combination of existing therapies

Team: Dr Roberto Fontana (Politecnico Torino), Prof Byron Jones (Novartis)
Clinical Advisor: Mario Grassini, MD
, chief of the Gastrointestinal and Endoscopy Unit at the Cardinal Massaja Hospital in Asti, Italy.
Location: Politecnico di Torino (Turin, Italy)

Combination therapies may be designed for new chemical entities or for combinations of existing therapies. The goal of this project is to develop Bayesian adaptive model based approaches that allow efficient identification of new combinations of existing therapies. Prior information from previous studies using these treatments will be synthesized to maximise utility.

The project will use irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) as an example and utilize existing data for method validation. Current drugs for IBS are typically antispasmodic, but new evidence is arising suggesting that prebiotic products may be beneficial, yet no information is available on the joint benefit of these two classes of treatments. A specific challenge in this project is that studies in IBS involve non-traditional response variables such as measures of nausea and vomiting scored on a visual analogical scale. Novel methodology will be required since in this problem safety and efficacy variables are often interchangeable, the same variables being in turn efficay or safety, depending on the context. Statistical methods for ordinal responses will turn out to be particularly useful in this setup.

Meet our Early Stage Researcher: Jose Luis Jimenez, Politecnico di Torino


I am from Madrid, Spain. I earned my Bacherlor’s degree in Statistics at Universidad Complutense de Madrid and his Master’s degree in Machine Learning at Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. For my Master thesis I investigated the topic “Sparse Modeling and Proximal Optimization in the Cox Proportional Hazards Model”. During my studies I worked in the pharmaceutical industry for three years. Currently, I am employed at Politecnico di Torino (Italy) as a Marie Curie Early Stage Researcher working on innovative designs for combination of existing therapies. In my free time I like trail running and traveling.



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The IDEAS network brings together leading institutions in the training of medical statisticians, large and small sized pharmaceutical companies and is supplemented by clinical experts.