News from the BioCity Campus

Bring virtual reality and voice assistants to the hospital

Research project develops artificial intelligence for personalized cancer medicine.

Networked therapy information in virtual reality and intelligent language assistants during medical consultations - this is not distant science fiction, but should become reality in the next three years. In the research project “Modelle for personalized medicine”, scientists from the Innovation Center for Computer-Assisted Surgery (ICCAS) of the Medical Faculty of the University of Leipzig want to turn these ideas into application-oriented solutions to support oncological paimplement patient treatment. The project with a total funding of around 5,1 million euros is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Together with Saxon companies, ICCAS will develop various artificial intelligence (AI) baseddeveloping pilot applications for cancer medicine thatte Integrating medicine into everyday clinical practice.

The vision of the Leipzig researchers: When the patient comes to the hospital, his “digital twin” is already there. It provides all previous examination results, radiological images, information about previous illnesses and operations as well as molecular genetic data, so that the doctor can immediately get a complete picture of the course of the disease. During diagnostics and therapy, the information from this data twin is compared with digital models of the clinical picture, which have been optimized with the relevant studies and the latest scientific findings. In the future, the computer will support doctors with personalized therapy recommendations for cancer patients. “Of course, the decision about treatment will continue to be made jointly by patients and doctors, but with the digital twin we can support the doctor in the best possible way. This puts him at the cutting edge of science. Now we want to find ways to integrate these and other technologies in the field of personalized cancer medicine directly into everyday clinical practice," says project leader Prof. Dr. Thomas Neumuth from ICCAS.

Digital patient twins in the consultation

In order to find new solutions, ICCAS has now launched the research project "Models for Personalized Medicine (MPM)" together with regional companies. The aim is to create the scientific and methodological basis for future personalized cancer treatments supported by artificial intelligence. Various technologies are being designed in several pilot applications: A patient data explorer that links the various data of a patient from radiological images and texts of findings via web technologies, the integration of molecular genetic tumor information in decision-making or the calculation of patient-specific therapy profiles for surgical interventions and radio-chemo-therapies. A wide variety of information in the digital twin of the patient must be directly linked and analyzed by artificial intelligence. "This would be a great support for our daily work," says Prof. Dr. Florian Lordick, Director of the University Cancer Center Leipzig (UCCL).

Another information technology application will support an intelligent tumor board: Doctors from different disciplines will come together to discuss the specific case of a patient. “We have reached a technological level where a doctor no longer has to enter all the steps and therapy decisions himself on the computer. Language assistants follow the discussion in the oncological consultation and automatically support the decision-making process," explains the computer scientist Dr. Stefan Franke from ICCAS.

Electronic patient files as the basis for personalized medicine

A simple form of the "digital twin" that the research project wants to further develop scientifically is the electronic patient file. It summarizes a patient's findings and documents in digital form. "This is the transition from the analog to the digital world," says Prof. Neumuth. However, the data in the patient file has not yet been linked according to its importance, so that, for example, patient-specific analyzes cannot yet be fully supported by AI. "An individually tailored therapy based on the latest scientific findings, which takes my situation and my personal needs into account and at the same time is explained to me in a transparent and understandable way, is what I want for myself and my family," says the expert.

dr Catherine Werneburg

Further information:
Prof. Dr. Thomas Neumut
Innovation Center for Computer Assisted Surgery (ICCAS)
Telefon: + 49 341 97-12010

Source: Leipzig University press release of February 11, 2020

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