Friday, 26 March 2021

Artificial Intelligence for personalized therapy of tumors

The University of Milano-Bicocca has funded a new position of research associate (RTD-B) for a project in which the Biophysics and Biophotonics group of the Physics department "G. Occhialini" will develop an artificial intelligence platform

Il Digital Twin del paziente viene “istruito” dall’organoide e prevede il progredire del tumore

The University of Milano-Bicocca has funded a new position of research associate (RTD-B) for a project in which the Biophysics and Biophotonics group of the Physics department "G. Occhialini" will develop an artificial intelligence platform for the treatment of tumors.

Our challenge

Each patient is different from another. Many types of tumors cannot be adequately treated due to our inability to develop personalized treatments. We want to cover this gap by developing a digital twin of tumors that allows us to carry out virtual tests of drug treatments, identifying the most appropriate and giving predictions of the spread of the tumor. This Digital-Twin will be based on a simulation system borrowed from the world of action video games, Agent Based Modeling, in which the computer system will learn the behavior of the tumor from experimental data (in vitro and clinical data) through artificial intelligence methods.

Links to other projects and research groups

By demonstrating that it has the potential to predict the evolution of tumors based on a training phase guided by laboratory experiments and observations of the profile and prognosis of patients, the digital twin technology will pave the way for a radical innovation in cancer therapy allowing to:

  1. identify the best therapy for specific types of cancer allowing personalized and precision medicine;
  2. to test the efficacy of available chemotherapy and biological agents on a computer, before treating the patient.

The project, partially funded within the European FET In2Sight project, is also based on national collaborations, with the cellular immunology group of the Department of Biotechnology and Biosciences (prof. F. Granucci), with the biophysics group of the department of medicine (prof. . F Mantegazza) and with the Regina Elena, National Cancer Institute, Rome. International collaborations with the Spanish Cancer Institute (Hospital Ramon y Cajal, Madrid), with the Physics Department of Tel Aviv University and with the Instituto Tecnologico de Aragon.

If successful, the technology we develop will need to be carefully regulated by specific laws in order to avoid potential ethical risks. The management of this delicate aspect relating to Bioethics and Digital Ethics will be supervised by the LUISS University of Rome.

Dissemination actions

The experience in the field of artificial intelligence for medicine of the research associate will also contribute to the development of an innovative teaching program in a highly interdisciplinary environment between biophysics, medical biotechnology, engineering, philosophy and law. More generally, the project will contribute to disseminate the methods and foundations of artificial intelligence, and their critical analysis, within schools thanks also to the inclusion of specific practical activities and seminars, organized within the LABEX center, active in the Physics Department and aimed at engaging high school students in STEM disciplines.