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Expert System supports OncoSNIPE Precision Medicine project with cognitive intelligence technology

8 February 2017

Joint project will analyze resistance mechanisms in oncology to enable the development of new tools for diagnostic and therapeutic targeting

Expert System, the leader in cognitive technology for the effective management of unstructured information, today announced that its semantic analysis technology has been chosen to support the OncoSNIPE® program driven by Oncodesign. Oncodesign is a biotechnology company serving the pharmaceutical industry in the discovery of new therapeutic molecules to fight cancer and other serious illnesses with no known effective treatment.

The OncoSNIPE® program is designed to develop and implement “bio-IT” approaches that draw on artificial intelligence, machine learning and semantic enrichment to help identify and qualify patients who are resistant to cancer treatments. This will allow more targeted R&D, helping Oncodesign generate new research pathways for its Experimentation and Discovery activities.

The project, which will last four years, is managed and coordinated by Oncodesign. It will bring together four industrial partners with complementary expertise and core businesses – Expert System, Sword, Acobiom and Oncodesign – and three French academic institutions – Hôpitaux Universitaires de Strasbourg, and cancer centers Centre George François Leclerc in Dijon and Institut Paoli Calmettes in Marseille.

“The OncoSNIPE project will help us strengthen our knowledge and capabilities in text annotation for the oncology domain, and especially for biomarkers. Together with our partner Sword, we will be able to  develop new cognitive products and services that will be easily integrated in hospital IT systems,” said Claudio Palmolungo, Executive Vice President, Europe at Expert System.

The OncoSNIPE project will target three types of cancer: breast, pancreas and lung. These cancers are representative of the resistance mechanisms in oncology and will give the project the diversity needed to develop tools for diagnostic and therapeutic targeting.

Over the project’s duration, more than 800 patients will be enrolled by the academic partners, and 600 will receive an original form of longitudinal monitoring. This will include traditional clinical monitoring as well as NGS genomic monitoring of their tumor (Exom-seq and RNA-seq) and blood markers (RNA-seq) at the time of diagnosis, and monitoring of best therapeutic responses and the emergence of resistance. The resulting information will be contextualized using semantic enrichment and will be used to model resistance mechanisms, identify biomarkers, discover new therapeutic targets and generate the knowledge needed to create a precision medicine approach dedicated to patients who are resistant to cancer treatments.

This is the latest Expert System project that applies cognitive technology in the fight against cancer. Expert System collaborated with UNICANCER, a group of 20 French Cancer Centers to provide the semantic module for its ConSoRe (Continuum Soin-Recherche) project. Expert System semantic technology extracted and classified medical references, family histories, TNM cancers and tumors from patient records. This information was then indexed as metadata and leveraged in the form of facets to accelerate the search and navigation process within patient records to identify relevant candidates for trials.