AI and Oncology: IRT Saint Exupéry and IUCT-Oncopole collaborate to advance cancer research

On May 17, two Toulouse institutes, the IRT Saint Exupéry and the IUCT-Oncopole, European center of expertise in oncology, entered into a partnership centered on artificial intelligence. This aims to pool cutting-edge skills around AI-based research projects aimed at improving prevention, diagnosis and care in oncology, in particular by predicting therapeutic efficacy. Two of these projects are already at an advanced stage.

IRT Saint Exupéry

The Saint Exupéry Technological Research Institute aims to accelerate scientific and technological research and transfer to the aeronautical and space industries for the development of innovative solutions that are reliable, robust, certifiable and sustainable. A private research foundation, supported by the French State, the IRT’s mission is to promote French technological research for the benefit of industry and to develop the ecosystem of the aeronautics, space and critical systems sectors. by providing access to its research projects, technological platforms and expertise.

On its sites in Toulouse, Bordeaux, Montpellier, Sophia Antipolis and Montreal, engineers, researchers, experts and doctoral students from industrial and academic backgrounds collaborate
around research projects and R&T services backed by technological platforms in 4 areas: advanced manufacturing technologies, greener technologies, methods & tools for the development of complex systems and smart technologies.

The IUCT-Oncopole

The IUCT-Oncopole is made up of the Claudius Regaud Institute, a center for the fight against cancer, and several teams from the Toulouse University Hospital. On the same site, the two establishments bring together the expertise of 1,500 professionals specialized in oncology. The Institute is located at the heart of a campus bringing together private and public players involved in the fight against cancer. Three missions are entrusted to it: care, research and teaching.

The institute brings together all the essential oncological disciplines to detect, treat and monitor the disease: surgery, medicine, radiotherapy and brachytherapy, nuclear medicine, interventional imaging, biology and anatomopathology and offers patients a personalized care program, the result of consultation. between different specialists. More than 10,000 new patients are treated there each year and more than one in eight is enrolled in clinical studies.

On the other hand, doctors and researchers work daily on therapeutic innovation programs. Moreover, the IUCT-Oncopole signed a protocol of agreement with Airbus to develop research projects to fight cancer using AI.

The IRT Saint Exupéry – IUCT-Oncopole collaboration

The existing synergies between the IRT and the IUCT-Oncopole, as well as their common commitment to capitalize on the potential of AI applied to critical systems, are the basis of this collaboration. It will allow the two institutes to pool their complementary skills in the fields of basic research and applied research to develop knowledge and care in oncology.

Jean-Pierre Delord, Director General of the Claudius Regaud Institute and Administrator of the IUCT-Oncopole explains:

“The Future of oncology must be built with all the players who can contribute to accelerating oncology research. Expanding our collaborations beyond our “health” ecosystem is part of our strategy. After an initial agreement signed with Airbus, we are delighted with this new partnership concluded with the IRT Saint Exupéry which will once again enable us to break down technological obstacles and barriers. Concretely, on the research side, the new tools of biology require us to collect, store and model increasingly complex data, while from the hospital’s point of view it is a question of improving patient care. , to manage technological developments and to integrate information of a very different nature. Any progress will ultimately benefit our patients. »

The IUCT-Oncopole benefits from the expertise in AI of critical systems, acquired over several years on the issues of the aeronautics sector, from the IRT which naturally applies to the field of health, itself made up of numerous systems complex and critical. For their part, the IRT and its industrial and academic members, by putting their expertise to the benefit of a new field of application, will also benefit from this collaboration, in terms of mathematical fundamentals for example, or for
recruit new talent, or obtain funding for future research projects.

Magali Vaissière, president of the IRT Saint Exupéry, declares:

“An important mission of our institute is to develop the ecosystem for the aeronautics, space and critical systems sectors by providing access to our research projects, our technological platforms & our expertise. AI for Health, as for all critical systems, requires a predicted margin of error equal to 0. Indeed, if it were not anticipated by the experts, the slightest error coming from a complex system could have serious consequences. consequences. Thus, the expertise that we have accumulated through our AI research projects, in particular on critical systems, is also applicable to health. This collaboration, based on excellence and the sharing of knowledge, will benefit both the scientific community and patients. »

This partnership, planned for one year but which could extend beyond, is based on four scientific axes: critical systems, including operating in real time, multimodal omics data, decision support and decision-making processes, federated learning and clinical operations.

The research projects of this partnership

An IRT R&D team is housed on the IUCT-Oncopole site during this year. IRT/Oncopole duos will carry out concrete research projects in AI.

Two projects, among the ten identified as carriers by the partners, are already at an advanced stage:

The PIRAT Project (Personalized Intelligent RadioTherapy) co-managed by Prof. Elisabeth Moyal, Head of the radiotherapy department at IUCT-Oncopole and Ahmad Berjaoui, engineer at IRT Saint Exupéry.

This project aims to predict the response of patients to radiotherapy and immunotherapy treatment through the analysis of multiple data from blood samples and MRI data. More than 100 patients treated in a clinical trial make up the nationwide research sample. The expected model should be able to capture the commonalities or differences in MRI data profiles and biological factors in patients for whom the treatment will be effective in order to refine the most appropriate therapeutic management for each patient.

AI for assistance in the prevention of perioperative risk »co-piloted by Dr Régis Fuzier, Head of the Anesthesia Department at IUCT-Oncopole and Benjamin Deporte.

The anesthesiologists from the IUCT-Oncopole and the teams from the IRT Saint Exupéry are developing an assistance model for the prevention of arterial hypotension, which is a perioperative risk. This drop in blood pressure is a common symptom of anesthesia and can be a factor in postoperative mortality and morbidity. Currently, there is no predictive model in the context of major (non-cardiac) surgery to anticipate a hypotensive episode, without a specific and expensive monitoring device.

By developing an AI-based predictive model, the parameters will be incremented in real time, so medical staff can detect signals and anticipate hypotension.

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AI and Oncology: IRT Saint Exupéry and IUCT-Oncopole collaborate to advance cancer research


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