US-based non-profit group Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) has initiated the Convergence 2.0 research programme to use artificial intelligence (AI) for understanding immune system response to cancers.
The organisation has awarded $11m across seven multi-disciplinary research teams who will be provided with access to Microsoft Research’s machine learning and AI expertise.
Each research team, including life sciences, physical sciences, mathematics and engineering experts, will work with Microsoft’s AI specialists to gain insights into the interaction between cancer and immune system.
SU2C Scientific Advisory Committee chairman Phillip Sharp said: “Investigation of the human genome and individual tumour genetics is producing mammoth amounts of data that need to be interpreted in order to deliver the best possible cancer care.”
The data on patient genome, imaging, medical and medication records will be analysed to identify factors such as DNA mismatch repair, tumour-specific proteins, cytokine function and natural killer cells that may affect patient’s response to a specific regimen.
SU2C Scientific Advisory Committee co-vice chairman Arnold Levine said: “Through the collaboration with Microsoft and using well characterised, de-identified patient data, we will look at how individuals vary in their immune responses to an array of therapies.
“And we will create standardised measurement protocols that may speed the development of cancer therapies and ultimately save lives.”
Expected to aid the development of new treatments, the research is being supported by the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer with $1.76m funding and the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) through a $1m grant.