Partners invest $2.6 million in AI to fight cancer
December 18, 2019
MONTREAL – The Oncopole, the MEDTEQ Consortium, the TransMedTech Institute and the Cancer Research Society – as part of the joint Onco-Tech Competition – are proud to announce a $2.6 million investment to support innovative projects in oncology and in medical technologies.
Created by leading financiers wanting to combine academic research and industry expertise, the Onco-Tech Competition is an opportunity for Quebec investigators to accelerate the development, validation and marketing of new medical technologies in oncology, for the benefit of patients.
“The Onco-Tech Competition is a great example of the opportunities for collaboration between the research and industry sectors. This investment enables the Oncopole to reaffirm its commitment to promote Quebec innovations in medical technologies for the benefit of patients, and points to major breakthroughs in oncology,” points out Renaldo Battista (pictured), executive director of the Oncopole.
“Industry-academic competitions such as Onco-Tech are great proof of the spirit of collaboration that prevails in R&D in Quebec. We are delighted to engage with our longstanding partners, and thus accelerate the technological innovations in oncology,” said Diane Côté, president and chief executive officer of MEDTEQ.
Selected for their ability to meet a clinical need by integrating innovative technologies, in collaboration with industry partners such as Imagia, Siemens, Elekta, Photo Etc or ORS, five projects will receive major funding support:
- Better classification of mammographic abnormalities using artificial intelligence artificielle [Team led by Julie Lemieux and Louise Provencher (CHU de Québec – Université Laval)]By using Imagia’s EVIDENS platform, the objective of the research project is to more specifically classify mammographic abnormalities as “malignant” or “benign”. This would result in decreasing the number of supplementary investigations (other breast imaging or biopsy) for abnormal mammography images. The project also provides hope for major advances in breast cancer screening: it seeks to obtain an objective measurement of breast density using artificial intelligence.
- Towards a better quantitative and multiplexed lung cancer diagnosis using metallic nanoparticles [Team led by Michel Meunier and Dominique Trudel, Polytechnique Montréal, CHUM]The project focuses on the innovative use of multiple metallic nanoparticles of various colours targeting cell surface proteins to ensure a more quantitative diagnosis and multiplexed selection of the imune treatment for lung cancer patients.
- Predicting the clinical response to immunotherapy for lung cancer patients, using artificial intelligence [Team led by Drs. Philippe Joubert and Bertrand Routy, Quebec Heart and Lung Institute, CHUM Research Centre]By putting artificial intelligence to good use, the project aims to develop an algorithm integrating the clinical, radiological and molecular characteristics of the tumor for patients suffering from advanced lung cancer, in order to predict their response potential to treatment aimed at reactivating the immune system in order to destroy tumor cells (immunotherapy).
- Better detection of hepatocellular carcinomas to improve the effectiveness of liver cancer treatments using novel algorithms [Team led by Guy Cloutier and Dr. An Tang, CHUM Research Centre, Université de Montréal]The team focuses on studying the mechanical and structural properties of the liver using novel algorithms applied to experimental ultrasound images in order to increase the detection of hepatocellular carcinomas (HCC) and thus improve monitoring, the effectiveness of the treatments and patient survival.
- A predictive platform of radiation treatments using breakthroughs in artificial intelligence [Team led by Samuel Kadoury and Dr. David Roberge, Polytechnique Montréal, CHUM]The project’s objective is to develop a prediction platform based on deep learning for digital planning and radiation treatments – adaptable, depending on the case in question – using medical images, for cancer patients.
This major funding will enable the projects selected to benefit from targeted and complementary expertise to accelerate the development of new medical technologies, providing hope in the fight against cancer.
“The TransMedTech Institute is proud to have contributed to Oncopole’s initiative and to have assisted four of the five Onco-Tech Competition winners. Together, we explored the investigators’ initial innovative ideas in order to understand the needs from various angles and standpoints during the co-development of medical technologies in oncology. Founded in 2017, TransMedTech is already setting itself apart in the R&D community through its expertise in rallying stakeholders to an approach known as Living Lab, which enhances project quality,” points out Prof. Carl-Éric Aubin, chief executive and scientific officer of TransMedTech.
“The Cancer Research Society is pleased to help propel these promising projects in order to develop technology and take giant steps to #OutsmartCancer. It’s the mandate that we have been given by hundreds of thousands of donors who, across the country, count on research to fight this disease that affects 1 in 2 Canadians,” said Manon Pepin, the organization’s president and chief executive officer.
About the Oncopole
Oncopole is a Quebec hub for research, development and investment to accelerate the fight against cancer. Created in February of 2017, it is the product of a unique co-creation process led by the Fonds de recherche du Québec Santé (FRQS) and made possible by an initial $15M investment from Merck Canada. Oncopole’s mission is to act as a catalyst leveraging actions made by the key players in Quebec’s oncology and innovation research ecosystem. As a result, it aims to position the province as a leader in the field. Its priorities of action, namely research, entrepreneurship, commercialization and integration of innovation, as well as clinical relevance, are orchestrated in order to foster the mobilization of stakeholders, the discovery of innovative approaches to fight cancer and, ultimately, a positive impact for the benefit of patients.
MEDTEQ is the pan-Canadian Consortium for Industrial Research and Innovation in Medical Technology. Its mission is to accelerate the development of innovative technological solutions to improve patients’ health and quality of life. MEDTEQ supports their validation and integration in the healthcare system and their impact, both locally and globally, by bringing together the complementary skills of industrial and academic partners, and with those of healthcare providers. MEDTEQ relies on the financial support of the Government of Quebec, the Government of Canada (delivered through the Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECR)), the private sector and complementary partners to foster research-industry relations.
About the TransMedTech Institute
TransMedTech Institute aims to support the development of innovative medical technologies, train the next generation of professionals and make innovation in life sciences and engineering a source of wealth for society. Based on a Living Lab approach, TransMedTech provides an integrated environment that supports interdisciplinary collaborative processes and co-creation of new medical technologies and interventions to catalyze their development and adoption by users. With a total of $95 million in grants from the Fonds d’excellence en recherche Apogée Canada, the Fonds de recherche du Québec, the Ministère de l’Économie et de l’Innovation du Québec and several other partners, TransMedTech Institute is led by 5 founding institutions (Polytechnique Montréal, University of Montréal, CHU Sainte-Justine, CHUM and Jewish General Hospital of Montreal), includes over 50 partner institutions and has first-rate infrastructure to support the development and validation of medical technologies.
About the Cancer Research Society
Founded in 1945, the Cancer Research Society is the first Canadian organization entirely dedicated to funding research on all types of cancer. Over the course of its history, the Society has supported thousands of our country’s best scientific minds who have helped make important strides in the way we prevent, detect, and treat cancer. Since 2000, thanks to the generosity of donors across the country, the Society distributed over $172 million in research grants. For more information, visit CancerResearchSociety.ca.