Intel and Sheba (Israel).  Diagnose Crohn's disease at an early stage.

Intel and Sheba (Israel). Diagnose Crohn’s disease at an early stage.

#Intel #Sheba #Israel #Diagnose #Crohns #disease #early #stage

Intel Corporation is working with the ARC Innovation Center at Sheba Medical Center in Israel to develop an AI-enhanced application to help physicians diagnose Crohn’s disease at an early stage. 12,000 images taken by a “capsule pill” can be analyzed in just two minutes.

Sheba has developed a unique app that it says can quickly and accurately analyze a large amount of video data from a patient’s digestive system captured on the pod’s video cameras, providing valuable insights to help medical professionals.

The solution’s AI-based algorithm, powered by Intel hardware and software, is designed to help clinicians identify Crohn’s symptoms, such as inflammation and ulcers, as well as predict the severity of a case and identify patient treatment needs.

“I was looking less for direct contact with patients and more for the development of treatments. Pharmacy seemed to me an interesting and important profession with work.

“Regardless of the personal connection, this patient had a type of cancer considered treatable, not a deadly type where there is no chance to help. Therefore, it saddened me to see him in his condition, knowing that all of this would have been avoided if he had been diagnosed earlier and not at an advanced stage with metastases. I felt helpless because I had no way to help her.

How does a pharmacist manage to develop chips in cancer research?

“Indeed, this is a non-trivial transition,” says Professor Benny, director of the nanomedicine laboratory at the Hebrew University School of Medicine’s School of Pharmacy and Steinberg’s supervisor. “Eliana is on a path of excellence in nanotechnology, one of whose strengths is exposing students to a large number of disciplines related to materials and engineering.

According to Professor Benny, “but his case is much more than that, he is a determined and creative person. If something doesn’t work, you’ll find a way to make it work. If a door is closed to him, he enters through the window. This is something that not all students know how to do. And he merges the good and important fundamentals of pharmacy with the field of engineering and the knowledge of 3D graphics that he acquired. The sky is the limit for her.

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Steinberg joined Benny’s lab in October 2018, about a year after the lab began developing an organ-on-chip, and has contributed significantly to the research. “My technology allows the size of the chip to be adjusted exactly to the amount of tissue that I want to test, and the amount of chemotherapy that I need to test in different combinations and concentrations”, he explains, “it is a very practical method that is adjusted exactly to each experience.

The method of creating the spheroids, these reconstructed tissues that are produced in the laboratory from each cancer cell removed from the patient, is also not obvious.

“The spheroids, which typically form within a day, can be produced on-chip or inserted onto the chip from outside,” explains Benny. “The chip structure we developed and the materials make cancer cells prefer to stick to each other rather than spread out on a surface, so they independently produce a three-dimensional spherical structure, rather than a cellular structure on a surface that is common in experiments.

Benny notes, “This is a key difference because in the spherical structure they start to behave the same way cancer cells behave in the body in terms of metabolism, oxidation, etc.

Steinberg’s chip had to overcome significant technical hurdles along the way. “There was concern that the chip could be toxic to cells, because it is plastic and can secrete substances that are toxic to cells, so my protocol makes substances non-toxic,” says Steinberg.

«De plus, nous devions nous assurer que la puce était transparent afin qu’elle puisse être photographiée au microscope, find a moyen d’ouvrir et de remove easily la tumeur de la puce sans aucune fuete, et permettre aux cells de se développer pendant a certain time. time indoors. Finally, I was able to develop a technology that allows all these features and also print the chip on a 3D printer quickly, in two hours.

How does a pharmacist know how to design a chip that is printed on a 3D printer?

“I studied on my own. There were no design courses in my studies, so another PhD student in the lab, specializing in 3D printing, introduced me to this universe. I feel that I have been very lucky because I love design, I love creative thinking, the challenge of overcoming the limitations of the printer and the chip, and the challenge with everything it takes to achieve the goal. As the chip is personalized, I have to think of a different design each time according to the needs of the investigation.

You make it look simple, but it’s really complex for someone with no engineering background.

“For someone with an engineering background, it’s easier just in terms of knowing how to use the software; It’s something that took me hours at first. But this engineer still lacked a knowledge of biology and, above all, an understanding of the needs of living tissues. So in any case, developing the chip requires looking at both worlds, both engineering and biology.

From the pharmacy to outer space

Despite the acceleration of its research, the field of “organ on a chip” is still at the beginning of its commercial journey: there are several companies in the market (mainly the Dutch Mimetas and the Spanish Beonchip, together with the Israeli Tissue Dynamics of Jacob Nachmias).

“One of the drawbacks of competing technologies is that they require a fairly large sample of material from the patient’s tumor,” says Benny.

“With our method, we maximize surface area, which means we can use a very small amount of tissue very efficiently, and we can test as many drugs as possible with this small amount. We also have the advantage of dynamic analysis, which means that we can look at the tissues and analyze them at different times, which is of great importance in examining how the patient reacts to medications. We can also play with the drawings according to the research need: printing in the laboratory allows us to control geometric shapes, which others have not been able to do with standard methods.

You’re describing a breakthrough here.

“This is undoubtedly a technological advance, which could be a game changer in the field. It’s a crowded field, and there’s a lot of “organ-on-a-chip” research going on, but we have a lot of unique advantages, so we’re definitely optimistic that our development will give the field of drug prediction a boost.

The innovative chips are now in the validation phase, and have so far examined some 30 tumors from cancer patients at Hadassah Hospital. “We are constantly continuing to refine the system and make it even more sophisticated,” says Steinberg.

What else needs to be improved?

“Mainly to make the chip even faster, i.e. reduce it from two weeks to one week. To do this, it is necessary to go to electrochemistry and adjust the model so that it has as many precise indicators as possible in all kinds of directions.

The patients Steinberg works with at this stage are advanced cancer patients, those whose chances of survival are low. Therefore, her experiments currently mainly test the ability to contain or retard growth.

One of these patients was an 8-year-old boy. “It’s hard to separate the purely scientific part from the emotions in a case like this,” she says. “I received glioblastoma tumor tissue, the most violent and aggressive brain cancer, that grew inside of it. Therefore, the doctors are doing everything possible and have sent samples of the tumor to different laboratories, including ours. And while they were still waiting for the results from the other laboratories, we were able to grow the cells and also identify which treatments they responded to and which they were resistant to.

In another case, an examination of spheroids cultured from a patient’s glioblastoma sample identified a mutation in 70% of them, which was not detected at all in the original tumor.

“It’s not that the original tumor didn’t have the mutation at all, because it doesn’t suddenly form within 20 days,” explained Dr. Shai Rosenberg, a neuro-oncology researcher at Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital.

“It was only in a small minority of tumor cells and the technology helped diagnose it. As a result, we recommend a drug that treats this mutation and works wonders. Although the patient was already in an advanced stage of the disease and she had only lived two more months, we were able to provide some relief. Steinberg and Rosenberg presented the case at the Society for Neuro-Oncology conference, the world’s largest scientific conference in the field of brain tumors.

It is a great responsibility that falls on your shoulders: to determine what can save a terminal patient.

“I definitely feel the weight of responsibility,” says Steinberg. “And sometimes I’m even a little scared to hear the response from the doctors, whether we’ve been successful or not. The concern of the person behind the experience is constantly present. I was very happy that we were able to help this patient in some way. It is very significant to me.

Last December, Steinberg’s chips even reached outer space: the spheroids he developed in the laboratory of the International Space Station were launched as part of a SpacePharma project to test the effect of the drug Doxil on cancer cells in weightless conditions. .

“Space medicine is a really exciting and young field of research,” says Steinberg. “The general idea is that, in light of the increasing human intervention in space and the trend of space tourism, it is inevitable that there will also be cancer in space, so we want to examine how all these processes occur in microgravity, either affect the course of the disease and its treatment.

You started in the pharmacy and made it to space. That is very impressive for a 28-year-old man.

“With all due respect to all the interesting and challenging things I’ve been through in the process, my goal has always been to help people. I can’t wait for our chip to be in the public domain. It’s going to be amazing. »

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