February 28, 2024

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CUHK Co-Develops AI-Powered New Analytic Tool

An AI-powered analytic tool to predict the effectiveness of a complementary biomarker for immune checkpoint inhibition in non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) has been developed by Professor Tony MOK Shu Kam from The Chinese University of Hong Kong’s (CUHK) Faculty of Medicine (CU Medicine) in collaboration with South Korea’s Seoul National University College of Medicine, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Ajou University School of Medicine and an AI start-up.

The tool conducts a spatial analysis of the distribution of tumour infiltrating lymphocytes biomarkers in whole slide images which can predict treatment outcomes with immune checkpoint inhibitors, the current first-line therapy for advanced NSCLC.

Study results showed that the AI-powered analysis of tumour infiltrating lymphocytes correlates with tumour response and progression-free survival, meaning it may help optimise treatment selection in clinical practice. These findings were recently published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Immune checkpoint inhibitors are standard therapy for advanced NSCLC with PD-L1 expression

Lung cancer is one of the most common cancers in the world, accounting for 1.8 million deaths every year. According to the Hong Kong cancer registry, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths and the most common cancer in the city, with more than 5,000 new cases every year. NSCLC accounts for above 80% of all lung cancers.

Immune checkpoint inhibitors are a standard first-line therapy for advanced NSCLC with PD-L1 expression, known as anti-PD-1 checkpoint inhibitors. When protein PD-1 on immune cell T-cell binds with ligand PD-L1 from cancer cells, it prevents the immune system from killing cancer cells. The inhibitors serve the purpose of preventing the binding from taking place and allowing the immune system to do its work and kill cancer cells.

Professor Tony Mok, Li Shu Fan Professor of Clinical Oncology and Chairman of the Department of Clinical Oncology at CU Medicine stated that the outcome of anti-PD-1 checkpoint inhibitors may vary depending on the patient’s tumour microenvironment but there is currently no standard biomarker addressing this.

He noted that tumour infiltrating lymphocytes, in theory, are the main activator of antitumour immunity which could be a promising biomarker for predicting treatment outcomes with immune checkpoint inhibitors. But the current quantification method is labour-intensive and relies on spatial distribution in whole-slide images, limiting utility and objectivity.

Immune phenotypes correlating with tumour response to immune checkpoint inhibitors

The AI-powered spatial tumour infiltrating lymphocytes analyser developed by the collaborative research team is capable of segmentation and quantification of multiple histologic components from whole-slide images, including cancer epithelium, cancer stroma and tumour infiltrating lymphocytes.

Then, through deep learning-based AI model training, three immune phenotypes: inflamed, immune-excluded and immune-desert are generated. (Please refer to table 1 in the appendix for the definition of the three immune phenotypes)

Findings showed that the inflamed immune phenotype correlates with enrichment in local immune cytolytic activity, a higher response rate, and prolonged progression-free survival compared with patients with the other two phenotypes.

According to Professor Mok, this is the first study on AI-powered automated tumour infiltrating lymphocytes analysis in advanced NSCLC. In this study, the team has proved that the AI-powered spatial tumour infiltrating lymphocytes analyser is capable of predicting clinical outcomes of immune checkpoint inhibitors in patients with NSCLC. This may serve as a complementary biomarker to tumour proportion score, the current PD-L1 measurement.

PARTNER

Qlik’s vision is a data-literate world, where everyone can use data and analytics to improve decision-making and solve their most challenging problems. A private company, Qlik offers real-time data integration and analytics solutions, powered by Qlik Cloud, to close the gaps between data, insights and action. By transforming data into Active Intelligence, businesses can drive better decisions, improve revenue and profitability, and optimize customer relationships. Qlik serves more than 38,000 active customers in over 100 countries.

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CTC Global Singapore, a premier end-to-end IT solutions provider, is a fully owned subsidiary of ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Corporation (CTC) and ITOCHU Corporation.

Since 1972, CTC has established itself as one of the country’s top IT solutions providers. With 50 years of experience, headed by an experienced management team and staffed by over 200 qualified IT professionals, we support organizations with integrated IT solutions expertise in Autonomous IT, Cyber Security, Digital Transformation, Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure, Workplace Modernization and Professional Services.

Well-known for our strengths in system integration and consultation, CTC Global proves to be the preferred IT outsourcing destination for organizations all over Singapore today.

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Planview has one mission: to build the future of connected work. Our solutions enable organizations to connect the business from ideas to impact, empowering companies to accelerate the achievement of what matters most. Planview’s full spectrum of Portfolio Management and Work Management solutions creates an organizational focus on the strategic outcomes that matter and empowers teams to deliver their best work, no matter how they work. The comprehensive Planview platform and enterprise success model enables customers to deliver innovative, competitive products, services, and customer experiences. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, with locations around the world, Planview has more than 1,300 employees supporting 4,500 customers and 2.6 million users worldwide. For more information, visit www.planview.com.

SUPPORTING ORGANISATION

SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.

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HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 

PARTNER

IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider. We help clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity and service.

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