They develop an AI diagnostic assistant to detect the inflammation that precedes gastric cancer

They develop an AI diagnostic assistant to detect the inflammation that precedes gastric cancer

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Incliva coordinates the international project Aida, which will last four years and more than 7 million in financing


The Incliva Health Research Institute is coordinating an international project to develop a diagnostic assistant using Artificial Intelligence (AI) that will help researchers, physicians, and patients understand and treat chronic gastric inflammation that precedes gastric cancer.

The project –called AIDA (An Artificially Intelligent Diagnostic Assistant for gastric inflammation), which was launched this month of January and is holding its kick-off meeting these days at Incliva– will last four years and will have a financing of more than 7 million euros between European and British funds.

Tania Fleitas, a researcher at the Incliva Research Group on colorectal cancer and new therapeutic developments in solid tumors and an oncologist at the Hospital Clínico Universitario de València, leads this project with the support of the Institute’s International Projects Unit.

A consortium made up of 15 centers of excellence from 8 European countries participates in the initiative, which brings together a multidisciplinary team made up of some of the main European authorities in gastric inflammation and cancer –in the specialties of epidemiology, immunology, oncology, pathology and gastroenterology–, experts in bioinformatics, artificial intelligence and machine learning and in data governance and privacy, representatives of the public administration and patient advocates.

Gastric cancer is the fifth most common type of cancer and the third leading cause of cancer death in the world in both sexes. It affects almost one million people and, to date, no strategy has improved the prognosis of the disease. It causes 783,000 deaths a year and the survival rate for patients in an advanced stage is only about 12 months, Incliva sources say in a statement.

In fact, they add, although the current treatment is multimodal and includes surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy to improve loco-regional control and achieve a decrease in the rate of tumor dissemination, advances are still limited and more actions are needed in primary prevention and secondary.

Most cases of gastric cancer are detected at a late stage, so diagnosing people at risk of developing gastric cancer in the presymptomatic stage could significantly improve their prognosis. There is a great deal of data available on the factors involved in a person’s chance of developing gastric cancer. Individually none of them offer strong evidence, but combining and correlating them would provide a much clearer picture.

Aida’s goal is to create an AI-powered tool that will help diagnose precancerous inflammation, allowing personalized medical follow-up, making recommendations to monitor the patient’s health status, and offering treatment. It will be configured through the collaboration of data from different sectors, including research and innovation centers, clinical partners, industry and patients, following the European data protection law, they detail.

Among the main researchers of Aida, in addition to Tania Fleitas, are, in Spain, Javier Gisbert, from the Hospital Universitario La Princesa in Madrid, and Leticia Moreira, from the Hospital Clínic in Barcelona. Principal Investigators from other countries are Kirill Veselkov of Imperial College London, UK; Tamara Matysiak-Budnik, from the University of Nantes (France); Mario Dinis-Ribeiro, from the Portuguese Institute of Oncology in Porto, and Fátima Carneiro, from I3S (Portugal); Stefano Sedola, from the SME Stratejai, and Zorana Maravic, from the DiCE patients’ association (Belgium); Manon Spaander from the Erasmus University, Rotterdam (The Netherlands); Marcis Leja, from the University of Latvia; and Jonaitis Laimas, from the University of Lithuania.

Finally, on behalf of Incliva, the research team is made up of Ana Miralles-Marco (coordination and management); Carolina Martínez-Carpaglini (pathology); Rosana Villagrasa, Pablo Navarro and Andrés Peña (digestive medicine); Juan Carbonell (biostatistics); Pilar Rentero (precision medicine); Elena Jiménez, Manuel Cabeza-Segura, Josefa Castillo and Andrea Marín (translational laboratory); Sergio Romero (data management) and oncologists Valentina Gambardella and Andrés Cervantes.

Aida is one of the 13 European projects that obtained funding through the Horizon Europe program in the Horizon-HLTH-2022-Stayhlth-02-01 call within the health block, after being selected from a total of 72 proposals submitted. Horizon Europe is the largest research and innovation program in the European Union and grants its funds after an exhaustive evaluation of each of the proposals submitted.

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