The Application of Evidence-Based Medicine in Individualized Medicine
The fundamental aim of healthcare is to improve overall health of the population by providing state-of-the-art healthcare for individuals at an affordable cost. The foundation for this system is largely referred to as “evidence-based medicine”. Too often, evidence-based medicine is based solely on so-called “best research evidence”, collected through randomized controlled trials while disregarding clinical expertise and patient expectations. As healthcare gravitates towards personalized and individualized medicine, such external clinical (research) evidence can inform, but never replace, individual clinical expertise. This applies in particular to orphan diseases, for which clinical trials are methodologically particularly problematic, and evidence derived from them is often questionable. Evidence-based medicine constitutes a complex process to allow doctors and patients to select the best possible solutions for each individual based on rapidly developing new therapeutic directions. This requires a revisit of the foundations of evidence-based medicine. A proposition as to how to manage evidence-based data in individualized immune-oncology is presented here.