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ProCanAid is a collaborative project between the University and Polytechnic La Fe Hospital of Valencia (HULAFE), the University of Zaragoza (UNIZAR), and Quibim. On 18th November 2022, the 1st consortium meeting took place in the facilities of the University of Zaragoza, where all entities involved in the study attended the event and the current status of the project was presented, as well as the next steps to be taken.

The main aim of the ProCanAid project is to develop a computational tool to create a 4D digital twin—a virtual model designed to accurately reflect a physical object—of the entire prostate of a patient. Novel AI-based magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) segmentation algorithms will be applied, not only to extract patient-specific prostate anatomy—transitional zone, peripheral zone, seminal vesicles—, but also to segment the neurovascular bundle. All these structures have recently been shown to be of importance in understanding the progression and invasion of prostate cancer. Tumor detection in the prostate will also be explored in the framework of the project.

The database will include clinical data, radiological and biopsy-based pathological reports, and the corresponding MRIs at diagnosis and during follow-up for 500 patients. The AI tool will incorporate in silico models considering the behavior of cells and tissues, to predict the effects of different types of oncological treatments, not only on the tumor, but also on the entire prostate, as well as to predict the efficacy of these treatments and the possible evolution of the disease. Moreover, multiscale finite element (FE) simulations of solid tumor growth will be developed to be finally integrated into the 4D prostate digital. The solution that will be created in the ProCanAid project is summarized in the following figure.

The main challenge of the project is the combination of different technologies towards the same goal. The development of this 4D digital twin will help clinicians to make a more specific and earlier diagnosis of prostate cancer and will assist them in the treatment decision-making process and in patient follow-up. In addition, the combination of MRI and targeted biopsy has been shown to improve prostate cancer detection, and consequently, following this procedure, the number of unnecessary biopsies per procedure could be reduced.

In ProCanAid, Quibim, as a coordinator, is taking care of project management tasks, such as organizing the bi-monthly virtual study meeting and the consortium meetings, the second of which is scheduled for May 2023. Quibim is also leading the development of the automated segmentation method to extract and characterize the neurovascular bundles. In addition, our platform is being used to host the real-world data collected in the project and to extract the imaging biomarkers for the prostate gland in all the MRIs acquired to each patient in the standard-of-care.

With ProCanAid, Quibim wants to move clinical research onto the next level.

Project PLEC2021-007709 (ProCanAid) funded by:

Anna Nogué Infante

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