A drug created by artificial intelligence has shown the capability of slowing the spread of cancer, according to early data from a clinical trial.
The research was presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology conference, and showed tumors reducing by about a quarter in size. With the success of the first test, more advanced trials are on the horizon.
Spotting every difference between a cancerous and a healthy cell is well beyond human capacity; we’re in the midst of merging advances in computing and medicine to find new solutions to medical barriers like this.
US biotechnology company Berg is one of the leaders in radical shift, dumping as much data scientists could record on the chemistry and composition of cells into a supercomputer. The idea was letting the highly advanced A.I. discover a way of reverting cancerous cells into healthy ones.
The research and data led to their first drug – BPM31510. Data from 85 patients revealed signs that the drug has potential to kill tumors.
Clearly in its infant stage, Dr. Niven Narain, one of the founders of Berg, firmly believes supercomputers are the future in the battle against cancer.
“I think we’re at a very explosive stage, this fusion of biology with technology in helping us understand the basis of this disease more fundamentally,” he told BBC News.
“It’s going to allow us to make better decisions on how we develop drugs, to whom we give these drugs to so that we’re able to increase the survival outcome.”
The results from the patient are being sent – you guessed it – back to the supercomputer. The scientists will use the trial data to further target the therapy at those most likely to respond.
Dr. Alan Worsley, from Cancer Research UK, says we’re just scratching the surface of what computers can do in helping us understand cancer dynamics.
“We still don’t fully understand how cancer cells get the energy they need to grow or how this differs from normal cells.
“It remains to be seen if a drug developed using this information will help cancer patients, but we need to keep finding new ways to find innovative treatments for patients.”