Montreal, February 8, 2018 It will become easier to discover imaging biomarkers and identify digital surrogates for modern end-points in personalized therapies, thanks to a partnership between Sylvain Meloche – Principal Investigator within the signaling and cell growth research unit at the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer (IRIC) along with his team, and Imagia, an AI-driven personalized healthcare company.

Sylvain Meloche’s team will try to accurately distinguish different types of cancers using artificial intelligence solutions applied to tumor imaging. “What we need to understand is that each tumour is unique and is characterized by a specific genetic signature, that is, it is generated by the hyperactivation or deficiency of one or more genes,” Meloche says. The goal is to apply Imagia’s Deep Radiomic algorithms to process tumor images from in vivo models and identify imaging biomarkers specific to each type of cancer.

Imagia’s platform allows researchers to take part in an in silico discovery process to investigate hypotheses that would otherwise require extensive benchwork. “Applying Deep Radiomics to tumour images allows us to dissect the oncologic processes such as signal pathway alterations and tumor immune phenotypes from routine medical images,” says Dr. Kam Kafi, Imagia’s director of oncology. According to Sylvain Meloche, it would be a first to distinguish tumours with different molecular causes using image analysis alone.

This collaboration will advance toward some of the promises of the emerging field of radiomics, to predict patient outcome from routine clinical imaging, and enable a cost-effective assessment of disease progression and treatment response. “Our Deep Radiomics platform offers scalable radiomics discovery pipelines, leveraging the unique ability of deep learning to discover actionable imaging biomarkers associated to global tumor status,” says Sébastien Giguère, research scientist (ML) at Imagia.

Easier diagnosis

Liver cancer is diagnosed by imaging techniques and conventional histological analysis after a biopsy. However, neither of these tests can identify the molecular cause of cancer. The only means are to undertake a complex histopathological analysis or sequence the entire tumour genome to know its genetic signature. Imaging biomarkers offer a simpler and less invasive alternative. The sample to be decrypted no longer comes from a biopsy, but is a simple radiological image.

The advantage of being able to accurately identify a tumour type is that it is possible to offer suitable and personalized treatments. The partnership agreement between Imagia and Sylvain Meloche’s laboratory, supported by IRICoR (Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer – Commercialization of Research), is excellent news that could pave the way for more personalized treatment solutions for cancer.

           

About the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer (IRIC) of the Université de Montréal

An ultra-modern research hub and training centre located in the heart of the Université de Montréal, the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer of the Université de Montréal was created in 2003 to shed light on the mechanisms of cancer and discover new, more effective therapies to counter this disease. The IRIC operates according to a model that is unique in Canada. Its innovative approach to research has already led to discoveries that will, over the coming years, have a significant impact on the fight against cancer. For more information: iric.ca

About Imagia

Imagia is an AI-driven personalized healthcare company, enabling collaborative development of predictive biomarkers. Our Evidens platform unites deep learning expertise and clinical insights on federated patient data from our partnered hospitals & AI research institutions. We are delivering impactful solutions to healthcare providers, pharmaceutical companies and medical device manufacturers.  Imagia’s mission is to leverage advances in artificial intelligence to accelerate accessible personalized medicine with an initial focus on personalized oncology. For more information: imagia.com

About the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer – Commercialization of Research (IRICoR)

As Université de Montréal’s drug discovery and project maturation cluster, IRICoR is a not-for-profit organization based at the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer (IRIC), with the mandate to accelerate the discovery, development and commercialization of novel therapies in cancer, immunotherapy and related fields. Since its creation in 2008, IRICoR successfully invests in and supports cutting-edge projects with disruptive potential to rapidly translate innovation into patient-accessible therapies, through either co-development partnerships with industry or company creation. IRICoR seamlessly integrates business-related expertise with industry-level drug discovery in a world-renowned research institute, providing academics with access to a full drug discovery chain with one of the largest academia-based medicinal chemistry groups in Canada. For more information about IRICoR: iricor.ca

                                                                                                                       

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Source: Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer

 

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Catherine Cardinal

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catherine.cardinal@umontreal.ca