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National brain tumour research funding needs to increase to £35 million a year

Scientists use AI to create drug regime for DIPG

In today’s The Guardian there is news that computer scientists and cancer specialists have used Artificial Intelligence (AI) to work out that combining the drugs Everolimus and Vandetanib could treat the deadly paediatric brain tumour diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG).

This form of brain cancer has not seen survival rates improve for more than half a century, but the breakthrough – as reported in the journal Cancer Discovery – is set to usher in an “exciting” new era where AI can be harnessed to invent and develop new treatments for all types of cancer, experts say.

After crunching data on existing drugs at London’s Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), a team of scientists, doctors and data analysts made the discovery that Everolimus could enhance Vandetanib’s capacity to “sneak” through the blood-brain barrier and treat the cancer.

This could become one of the first examples of a treatment proposed by AI going on to benefit patients.

Testing has already started on a small number of children and experts now hope to test it on a much larger group of children in major clinical trials.

This news is particularly welcome in September as it is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and Brain Tumour Research has been taking the opportunity to raise awareness of brain tumours, the biggest cancer killer of children.

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