Artificial intelligence stopped prostate cancer from spreading in a patient with an advanced form of the disease, new research shows.
An unnamed patient with tumours that had spread outside his prostate was given a combination of an experimental drug and an approved cancer medication.
AI technology, known as CURATE.AI, was used to continuously assess how well the patient responded to the drugs, with the medications’ doses being adjusted accordingly.
These dose changes reduced cancer markers in his blood to the lowest levels they had ever been, with CT scans also revealing the patient’s tumours had not spread further.
Lead author Professor Dean Ho, from the National University of Singapore, said: ‘The unique ability for CURATE.AI to rapidly identify the drug doses that result in the best possible treatment outcomes allows for optimised personalised medicine.
‘We are excited that CURATE.AI could ultimately enhance patient accessibility to important new combination therapies, saving lives in the process.’
Image shows a stock picture representing artificial intelligence. AI stopped prostate cancer from spreading in a patient with an advanced form of the disease, new research shows
‘AI modifies drug dosing to increase efficacy’
The researchers developed CURATE.AI using the patient’s own data, such as drug doses he had already received, and how this impacted his tumours’ sizes and the levels of cancer biomarkers in his blood.
From this, the scientists mapped out the patient’s personal treatment response.
Over the course of a year, the patient was given both the experimental drug ZEN-3694 and enzalutamide, which is approved for prostate cancer. Initially, the scientists adjusted the drugs’ doses to maximise the patient’s quality of life.
Levels of prostate specific antigen (PSA) in the patient’s blood were used to determine how he was responding to treatment, while CT scans monitored any changes to his tumours.
After starting CURATE.AI, the technology slightly increased the patient’s ZEN-3694 dose, which corresponded with decreases in his PSA levels.
CT scans revealed his tumours stopped progressing as a result of CURATE.AI guided dosing, according to the results published in the journal Advanced Therapeutics.
Professor Ho said: ‘CURATE.AI uniquely modifies drug dosing to increase efficacy. Our clinical study has shown that dosing can profoundly affect the efficacy and safety of treatment.’
HOW DOES ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE LEARN?
AI systems rely on artificial neural networks (ANNs), which try to simulate the way the brain works in order to learn.
ANNs can be trained to recognise patterns in information – including speech, text data, or visual images – and are the basis for a large number of the developments in AI over recent years.
Conventional AI uses input to ‘teach’ an algorithm about a particular subject by feeding it massive amounts of information.
AI systems rely on artificial neural networks (ANNs), which try to simulate the way the brain works in order to learn. ANNs can be trained to recognise patterns in information – including speech, text data, or visual images
Practical applications include Google’s language translation services, Facebook’s facial recognition software and Snapchat’s image altering live filters.
The process of inputting this data can be extremely time consuming, and is limited to one type of knowledge.
A new breed of ANNs called Adversarial Neural Networks pits the wits of two AI bots against each other, which allows them to learn from each other.
This approach is designed to speed up the process of learning, as well as refining the output created by AI systems.
‘Patients respond to chemotherapy differently’
Typically, cancer drugs are given at fixed, high doses that are decided by medics.
Professor Ho explained: ‘Patients respond to chemotherapy differently from one another.
‘Even a single patient’s response to therapy can vary substantially over the course of treatment.
‘In fact, many patients do not respond at all to the drug combination because the dosages, which can profoundly impact efficacy, are not suitable for them.
‘Therefore, while fixed dose combination therapy represents a standard of care, it may also serve as a barrier to realising truly optimal and personalised medicine.
Study author Dr Allan Pantuck added: ‘With fixed dose therapy, patients are often switched to other drugs when they no longer respond to treatment.
‘However, CURATE.AI has shown that patients can still respond to the therapies that have seemingly stopped working by continuously identifying the patient’s optimal dosing parameters.’
As well as cancer, the researchers believe CURATE.AI could be used for any disease.