Pioneering software can grow and treat virtual tumors using AI


Through Amelia Heimann, Second year, Biochemistry

Researchers at the University of Bristol helped create EVONANO, an artificial intelligence software that is revolutionizing the field of cancer treatment.

EVONANO’s revolutionary technology models specific tumors and designs nanoparticles capable of fighting this tumor.

Using the EVONANO platform, researchers were able to simulate different designs of nanoparticles that were previously “impossible to achieve experimentally,” according to Dr Sabine Hauert of the university’s cancer mathematical engineering department.

The team hopes that EVONANO can be designed to use data from individual patients and create an exact replica of the patient’s tumor and find the optimal design of nanoparticles to successfully erase the tumor.

Nanoparticles are compact molecules that can act as vectors to transport drugs to specific cancer cells. The administration of drugs through nanoparticles has a distinct advantage over the free administration of drugs, as it significantly increases the pharmacological parameters of drug bioavailability and absorption.

The researchers found that they could bio-design nanoparticles in slightly different ways by changing their size, shape, stiffness, and surface coating. The technique known as “artificial evolution” is a means by which nanoparticles can be engineered to reduce their damage to normal cells while effectively killing cancer cells.

In addition, different types of nanoparticles can be constructed such as encapsulated or self-assembled nanoparticles. Self-assembling nanoparticles harness thermodynamic forces to spontaneously assemble and efficiently deliver drugs, researchers can modify this through external fields or models.

An image from the research paper | Epigram / University of Bristol

The EVONANO platform also saves time by reducing the need to thoroughly test different nanoparticle designs in the lab.

A major advantage is that it minimizes the high costs of frequent laboratory tests and that it can model the effects of nanoparticles equivalent to silica tests. Testing nanoparticles with whole tissue is known to be inefficient. So the team created models of individual cells.

The platform is open source software which means that it is available for use by other researchers and the hope is that, thanks to the scientific community, the use of this technology will become widely used and efficient. .

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The creation of the EVONANO platform is a huge step forward in the engineering of effective and personalized treatments for cancer patients. Successfully treating all types of cancer remains one of the biggest puzzles in science and with the field of nanomedicine we hope to take a step forward towards the goal of eliminating this disease.

Featured Image: Unsplash / Alexander Sinn


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