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Webinar: Massive Bio Executives Discuss Artificial Intelligence’s Impact on Personalized Cancer Treatment

  • Selin Kurnaz, Ph.D.
    Chief executive officer and co-founder of Massive Bio
  • Arturo Loaiza-Bonilla, MD
    Chief medical officer and co-founder
  • Çağatay Çulcuoğlu
    Chief technology officer, chief operating officer, and co-founder of Massive Bio
  • Oz Huner
    Chief product officer

In the first installment of a new webinar series, Massive Bio’s leadership team discussed how artificial intelligence is helping to drive the growth of personalized cancer treatment.

In a webinar titled “How Is AI Driving Personalized Cancer Treatment?” several Massive Bio executives gathered for a roundtable discussion about how artificial intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing the delivery of healthcare—with a focus on cancer care and management—by individualizing treatment regimens to achieve better outcomes. This webinar, the first in a new series, was moderated by Arturo Loaiza-Bonilla, MD, Massive Bio’s chief medical officer and co-founder. Panelists included:

    • Selin Kurnaz, Ph.D., chief executive officer and co-founder of Massive Bio

    • Çağatay Çulcuoğlu, chief technology officer, chief operating officer, and co-founder of Massive Bio

    • Oz Huner, Massive Bio’s chief product officer

To kick off the conversation, Kurnaz gave an overview of how Massive Bio, which matches cancer patients to clinical trials, uses AI to achieve that goal: to identify patients who are candidates for clinical trials; to structure disparate data, including patients’ clinical records, the results of genomic testing, and clinical trials’ inclusion/exclusion criteria; and provide operational support to patients once they enroll in a trial. “This all requires more than what the human brain can do,” said Kurnaz. “It has to be automated, it has to be scaled, and it has to be unbiased,” which Massive Bio’s SYNERGY-AI system was built to achieve.

Çulcuoğlu defined AI as technology comprising “computer systems that can perform tasks that typically require human intelligence,” such as recognize patterns, make decisions, and learn from experience. AI is having an impact on healthcare in diverse ways, he noted. For example, AI is now being used in medical imaging (such as X-rays, CT scans, and MRI scans) and is often able to identify abnormalities that are invisible to a radiologist’s naked eye. Importantly, AI is allowing medicine to better use the huge amounts of data now collected on every patient. “It’s  not easy for humans to analyze that data in a manual way, but if you can leverage AI, you can analyze this type of patient data…to tailor treatment plans and predict the likelihood of a positive outcome,” said Çulcuoğlu. “AI has the potential to transform the field of cancer care.”

Moderator Loaiza-Bonilla added that AI is allowing doctors and other clinicians to do “things we couldn’t do in the past.” That includes breaking down and merging patient data that has historically been “siloed,” or stored in separate, often-incompatible record-keeping formats. AI’s role in medicine will continue to expand in the future, as it will be essential to make the best use of the emerging fields of genomics, proteomics, transcriptomics, and other -omics to deliver personalized cancer treatment, which he defined as “optimized care at the point where the patient needs it most.”

Huner noted that much work remains to be done in oncology and in medicine more generally to achieve the goal of personalizing medical care for all. “Today, from a patient experience point of view, healthcare is still very much a laborious process and has a lot of friction,” he said. Some patient records can be 500 to 1000 pages long, Huner noted, yet many healthcare systems are using technology from the 1970s to analyze this data, which is often left to humans, who are vulnerable to bias and other problems. Huner added that there are 40 distinct steps involved in enrolling in a clinical trial, with decisions that must be made at each stage. At Massive Bio, said Huner, “we’re focused on making that process as seamless and frictionless as possible.” SYNERGY-AI uses computer vision, natural language processing, and other AI tools to extract information and automate the process of matching cancer patients to clinical trials, in a frictionless and unbiased manner—in seconds. “That allows our staff to treat many more patients than they could otherwise do manually,” said Huner.

To hear the entire conversation, watch “How is Artificial Intelligence Driving Personalized Cancer Treatment?” on Massive Bio’s Facebook page.

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