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AI to accelerate discoveries in rare childhood cancers

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A new collaboration between The Bardo Foundation, Iris.ai and the European Innovation Council (EIC), is set to harness artificial intelligence to accelerate much-needed discoveries for rare childhood cancers. 

The Bardo Foundation is an non-profit organisation dedicated to advancing research and treatments for Osteosarcoma, a rare but highly aggressive bone cancer affecting children and young adults. 

The impact of childhood cancers is profoundly devastating, both on the young patients and their families. According to the World Health Organization, more than 1000 children are diagnosed with cancer every day.   

The new partnership will integrate Iris.ai’s natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning technologies into the research workflow at Oslo University Hospital, with an initial focus on osteosarcoma.

It aims to significantly accelerate their ability to extract actionable insights and identify potential breakthroughs from vast volumes of scientific literature and data. 

The project includes enhanced accessibility to data from clinicaltrials.gov, making it more accessible to patients, caregivers, doctors, and researchers.  

Researchers will gain access to Iris.ai’s suite of AI research tools, designed to efficiently navigate and analyse vast volumes of academic literature and clinical data.

By harnessing capabilities such as data exploration, filtering, analysis and summarisation, scientists aim to pinpoint critical insights more rapidly, driving breakthroughs in the understanding and treatment of rare paediatric cancers. 

 Bjarne Eggesbo, executive director and co-founder of The Bardo Foundation, said: “In the vast ocean of cancer research, the specific insights on rare childhood cancers are like needles in a haystack. The primary challenge has been the disconnect between the volume of research available and the accessibility of relevant findings. Our partnership with Iris.ai and the EIC is about turning that data into actionable knowledge that can drive real progress in pediatric oncology. The initiative underscores the urgent need for accelerated research and innovative treatment approaches to improve survival rates and quality of life for those affected. 

While initially focused on osteosarcoma, should the pilot be successful, the team aims to scale it up for global deployment. 

The goal is to offer research teams around the world the tools to make significant inroads into treating not just osteosarcoma, but other rare childhood cancers as well.  

 Anita Schjøll Abildgaard, CEO and co-founder of Iris.ai added: “By integrating our software into the research workflow at Oslo University Hospital, we are setting a new standard for how AI can aid medical research, enhancing the ability to process and analyse complex datasets effectively. 

 “The partnership exemplifies how non-profits, research institutions, and technology innovators can join forces to overcome barriers and accelerate scientific discovery. By providing researchers with state-of-the-art AI tools, we hope to bridge the gap between cutting-edge medical practice and clinical research, and ultimately help deliver transformative new treatments for paediatric cancer patients – faster.”

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