Monday April 20th 2015
How One Company is Using AI to Develop a Cure for Cancer
At Berg, we use AI to create over 14 trillion data points on only one tissue sample.
AI is actually able to take all the information from the patient’s biology, clinical samples, and demographics and really categorize which ones are similar and which ones are different and then stratify those in a way that helps us understand the difference between the healthy and diseased.
We go much deeper than just analyzing the genome, we look at all the genes in that tissue sample, all the proteins, metabolites, lipids, patients records, demographics, age, sex, gender, etc. We combine the 30,000 genes in the body with about 60,000 proteins and a few hundred lipids, metabolites.
Then we take those components and subject them to high order mathematic algorithm that essentially learns, uses machine learning, to learn the various associations and correlations. – Carl Berg
Could we be just two or three years away from curing cancer? Niven Narain, the president of Berg, a small Boston-based biotech firm, says that may very well be the case.
With funding from billionaire real-estate tycoon Carl Berg as well as from Mitch Gray, Narain, a medical doctor by training, and his small army of scientists, technicians, and programmers, have spent the last six years perfecting and testing an artificial intelligence platform that he believes could soon crack the cancer code, in addition to discovering valuable information about a variety of other terrible diseases, including Parkinson’s.
All this data crunching has led to the development of Berg’s first drug, BPM 31510, which is in clinical trials. The drug acts by essentially reprogramming the metabolism of cancer cells, re-teaching them to undergo apoptosis, or cell death. In doing so, the cancer cells die off naturally, without the need for harmful and expensive chemotherapy.
So far, Berg has concentrated most of its resources on prostate cancer, given the large amount of data available on the disease. But thanks to recently announced partnerships, the firm is now building a new model targeting pancreatic cancer, which is one of the deadliest forms of cancers with a survivorship rate of only 7% – Cyrus Sanati
We tested this on a patient who had bladder cancer. It was a very aggressive cancer, which failed to respond to all other therapies. We then put him on BPM 31510, which targeted the metabolism of the cancer cell, and by week 18, the tumor was completely gone – Carl Berg
Saturday 18th June 2016
Artificial Intelligence ‘Outsmarts Cancer’
Early trial data shows a drug developed using artificial intelligence can slow the growth of cancer in clinical trials.
The data, presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology conference, showed some tumours shrank by around a quarter. The compound will now be taken into more advanced trials.
Scientists said we were now in an explosive stage of merging advances in computing with medicine.
Spotting every difference between a cancerous and a healthy cell is beyond even the brightest human minds. So the US biotechnology company Berg has been feeding as much data as its scientists could measure on the biochemistry of cells into a supercomputer.
The aim was to let an artificial intelligence suggest a way of switching a cancerous cell back to a healthy one. It led to their first drug, named BPM31510, which tries to reverse the Warburg effect – the phenomenon in which cancerous cells change their energy supply.
The results from patients are being fed back into the artificial intelligence in order to further target the therapy at those most likely to respond.
The company thinks cancers with high energy demands will benefit the most and is planning a more advanced trial in patients in pancreatic cancer.
Dr Alan Worsley, from Cancer Research UK, said we were only at the beginning of harnessing the huge advances in computing to understand cancer. – James Gallagher