Academics and industry experts have come together to collaborate on a pioneering study that aims to advance precision therapy in breast cancer. The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, and experts from the University of Durham and Concr, a techbio company, have launched the AI-VISION observational study. This artificial intelligence-based clinical study will focus on early triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), a particularly aggressive form of the disease that lacks certain receptors and proteins commonly found in other types of breast cancer.
The main objective of the study is to define and validate biomarkers of chemotherapy response, both with and without immunotherapy, by analyzing tissue samples from patients living with TNBC. Currently, the standard of care for TNBC relies on clinical and pathology data, but this study aims to introduce computational methods that can deliver precision medicine, improve clinical decision-making, and ultimately provide more targeted therapies for cancer patients.
To fund this groundbreaking project, Innovate UK has awarded a grant of nearly £800,000 to Concr, the company leading the study. Concr will utilize Bayesian computational frameworks, commonly used in astrophysics, to connect different oncology data sources and enable the identification and development of biomarkers of drug response. By linking genomic data from the ICR’s genomics facility with clinical data from TNBC samples using Concr’s FarrSight platform, the study aims to discover and confirm biomarkers that indicate responsiveness to immunotherapy.
Dr. Navita Somaiah, the project lead and clinician scientist at the ICR, explained that by integrating various data sources and employing AI analysis, they hope to uncover genomic characteristics that can guide the selection of patients who are most likely to benefit from newer therapies like immunotherapy.
Dr. Uzma Asghar, the chief scientific officer and lead applicant from Concr, emphasized the importance of the grant in validating their technology, as well as its potential to improve patient selection for clinical studies within the pharmaceutical industry.
This collaborative effort between academics, clinicians, and industry experts represents a significant step forward in precision medicine for breast cancer. By leveraging artificial intelligence and computational approaches, the study aims to enhance treatment outcomes and ultimately provide more effective and targeted therapies for individuals living with TNBC.