Harnessing artificial intelligence to take the guesswork out of diagnosing cancer recurrence for millions of cancer survivors
Vancouver, BC [April 21, 2022] – Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster is excited to be investing in AI and technology innovation that will advance personalized cancer treatment and improve patient outcomes. Led by Imagia Canexia Health, in partnership with BC Cancer Research, DNAstack, Microsoft, Queen’s University and University Health Network, the CanDETECT project is developing a precision oncology software that will monitor cancer recovery and recurrence for millions of Canadian cancer survivors.
“Digital healthcare innovations can have a significant positive impact for cancer patients and their families,” said the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. “By detecting relapse or resistance to therapy early, the CanDETECT project can help improve patient outcomes, reduce cancer care backlogs and build greater resiliency across Canada’s healthcare systems. This is one more example of how the Digital Technology Supercluster and digital innovation can help Canadians and their families during very difficult times.”
Cancer remains the leading cause of death in Canada, and according to Canadian Cancer Society nearly half of Canadians are expected to receive a diagnosis of cancer in their lifetime. The recovery of cancer patients and survivors depends on close monitoring of treatment response and ensuring recurrence is detected early. However, current approaches are largely ad-hoc, costly and have a low success rate, providing generic data on the presence of cancer with no specific treatment guidance. The current ‘one size fits all’ approach limits the chance of effective treatment and survival.
“The AI-based oncology software being developed and tested as a part of the CanDETECT project will enable clinicians to perform a real-time assessment of tumor status, detect earlier signs of patient relapse and recommend alternative treatment options, ensuring the best possible outcome faster, more accurately and at less cost than current solutions,” said Geralyn Ochab, CEO of Imagia Canexia Health. “This ‘Made in Canada’ solution will transform cancer care for Canadians.”
The AI-based oncology software will identify and predict the best available targeted therapies and/or clinical trials for cancer patients throughout the course of their treatment and will analyze and track how each patient responds to therapy over time. The consortium will also harness artificial intelligence, machine learning and big data to better predict patient response to targeted therapy by integrating and analyzing multimodal patient data.
“The ability to monitor cancer recurrence dynamically means we can offer patients personalized treatment responsive to the changing biology of their cancer,” said Bill Tam, COO of the Digital Technology Supercluster. “We are extremely proud of the break-through research and development happening between Imagia Canexia Health, BC Cancer Research, DNAstack, Microsoft, Queen’s University and University Health Network. Together we are accelerating progress against cancer and improving survival outcomes for all Canadians.”
The CanDETECT project has a total investment of $17.8 million, with $12.5 million invested by industry and $5.3 million co-invested through the Supercluster’s Technology Leadership program. Other supporting partners involved in this project include Illumina, Kingston General Health Research Institute and Kingston Health Sciences Centre. More information on CanDETECT can be found here.