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Nikhil Prasad  Fact checked by:Thailand Medical News Team Nov 21, 2023  3 months, 3 days, 21 hours, 31 minutes ago

AI News: New AI Platform By UCLA Can Predict Survival Outcomes Of Cancer Patients Based On Epigenetic Factors

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AI News: New AI Platform By UCLA Can Predict Survival Outcomes Of Cancer Patients Based On Epigenetic Factors
Nikhil Prasad  Fact checked by:Thailand Medical News Team Nov 21, 2023  3 months, 3 days, 21 hours, 31 minutes ago
AI News: In a revolutionary leap forward in cancer research, scientists at the UCLA Health Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center have unveiled a groundbreaking artificial intelligence (AI) model that harnesses epigenetic factors to predict patient outcomes across diverse cancer types. This innovative approach goes beyond traditional measures like cancer grade and stage, offering a more sophisticated understanding of the disease. The study covered in this AI News report, not only introduces an advanced AI platform but also lays the groundwork for potential targeted therapies that manipulate epigenetic factors in cancer treatment.


 
Understanding the Significance of Epigenetics in Cancer
Historically, cancer has been viewed through the lens of genetic mutations within oncogenes or tumor suppressors. However, advancements in next-generation sequencing technologies have illuminated the pivotal role of epigenetic factors - those that influence gene activation or deactivation - in cancer development and progression. Co-senior author Hilary Coller, a professor of molecular, cell, and developmental biology, underscores the importance of comprehending the state of chromatin and the levels of epigenetic factors in influencing cancer outcomes.
 
Research Methodology: Illuminating the Epigenetic Landscape
To bridge the knowledge gap regarding how epigenetic patterns impact cancer progression, the researchers embarked on a comprehensive analysis. They scrutinized the gene expression patterns of 720 epigenetic factors across an extensive array of 24 different cancer types. Remarkably, these factors were found to categorize tumors into distinct clusters, providing a more accurate prediction of patient outcomes than conventional measures such as cancer grade and stage.
 
Clinical Implications: Epigenetic Patterns and Patient Outcomes
The study revealed significant associations between epigenetic patterns and patient outcomes in 10 out of the 24 analyzed cancer types. Notably, the clusters associated with poor outcomes correlated with advanced cancer stages, larger tumor sizes, and more severe indicators of cancer spread. This finding underscores the potential clinical relevance of considering epigenetic factors in tailoring cancer treatments to individual patients.
 
"For a long time, cancer has been viewed as primarily a result of genetic mutations within oncogenes or tumor suppressors," said co-senior author Hilary Coller, professor of molecular, cell, and developmental biology and a member of the UCLA Health Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA.
 
She added, "Interestingly, however, the emergence of advanced next-generation sequencing technologies has made more people realize that the state of the chromatin and the levels of epigenetic factors that maintain this state are important for cancer and cancer progression. There are different aspects of the state of the chromatin - like whether the histone proteins are modified, or whether the nucleic acid bases of the DNA contain extra methyl groups - that can affect cancer outcomes. Understanding these differences between tumors could help us learn more about why some patients respond differently to treatments and why their outcomes vary."
 
AI as a Predictive Tool: Unleashing the Power of Machine Learning
Building on their groundbreaking findings, the researchers leveraged the capabilities of artificial intelligence to develop a predictive model for patient outcomes based on epigenetic factor gene expression levels. The model demonstrated remarkable success in categorizing patients into two groups—one with a higher likelihood of positive outcomes and another with a higher likelihood of poorer outcomes. The overlap between the model's crucial genes and the cluster-defining signature genes further validated its predictive efficacy.
 
Pan-Cancer Insights and Therapeutic Potential: Extending the Reach of AI
The AI model, trained on the adult patients from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) cohort, showed promise in predicting outcomes for specific cancer types. However, the researchers emphasize the need for further validation on independent datasets to explore the broad applicability of the model. Moreover, they propose extending similar epigenetic factor-based models to pediatric cancers, unveiling unique factors influencing treatment decisions in young patients.
 
Unveiling Epigenetic Heterogeneity: Navigating the Intricate Landscape
The study delves into the intricate landscape of epigenetic heterogeneity within and across cancer types. It highlights the relationship between intertumor and intra-tumor heterogeneity, emphasizing the role of epigenetic factors in shaping clinical outcomes. Single-cell analysis of both adult and pediatric tumors revealed that individual cancer cells within tumors exhibit gene expression patterns associated with distinct outcome clusters. This nuanced understanding of heterogeneity opens new avenues for personalized treatment strategies.
 
Identifying Therapeutic Targets: The Promise of Precision Medicine
The comprehensive analysis of 720 epigenetic factors unveiled several novel genes that may serve as potential drug targets. Notably, histone acetyltransferases and SWI/SNF chromatin remodelers emerged as promising candidates for epigenetics-based cancer therapy. The study propels the field toward targeted interventions that modulate these factors to positively influence cancer outcomes.
 
Limitations and Future Directions: Navigating the Scientific Landscape
Acknowledging its groundbreaking nature, the study openly discusses certain limitations. The list of 720 epigenetic factors is likely not exhaustive, and the exclusion of other mechanisms like alternative splicing and post-translational modifications is recognized. The researchers also stress the need for further exploration in diverse populations and additional pediatric cancer types. Despite these limitations, the study's findings pave the way for future research endeavors.
 
Conclusion: A Transformative Era in Cancer Care
In conclusion, the UCLA Health Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center's research signifies a paradigm shift in cancer prognostication and treatment. By seamlessly integrating artificial intelligence with insights from epigenetics, the study not only refines our understanding of cancer heterogeneity but also provides a comprehensive roadmap for the development of targeted therapies. The identified epigenetic factors and the AI model offer a glimpse into the future of personalized cancer treatment, holding the potential to significantly improve patient outcomes across a spectrum of cancer types.
 
As the scientific community continues to explore and validate these findings, the collaboration between artificial intelligence and epigenetics promises a transformative era in the fight against cancer. This intersection of cutting-edge technologies not only enhances our understanding of cancer biology but also provides tangible avenues for more effective and personalized cancer care. With each revelation, we move closer to a future where the convergence of AI and epigenetics becomes a cornerstone in the relentless pursuit of conquering cancer.
 
The study findings were published in the peer reviewed journal: Communications Biology.
https://www.nature.com/articles/s42003-023-05459-w
 
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