Meet ASME! It stands for Artificial Intelligence Supporting MElanoma survivors across Europe and is an Open Call project in the context of ASCAPE EU-funded project. The Greek high-tech company Zelus and researchers from Stockholm University, Sweden are running this very ambitious cascade funding project that started in March 2022 and will conclude its activities at the end of November. 

The challenge

Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer as it spreads to other organs more rapidly if not treated at an early stage. Treatment is typically surgical, with only a small group of metastatic patients receiving chemotherapy and/or interferon therapy. About 80% of patients survive melanoma but the risk for disease progression stays for many years, for which there is no successful therapy, making melanoma a chronic, life-threatening, and QoL-affecting disease.

Here comes ASME!

To address melanoma challenges ASME proceeds towards monitoring and predicting the course of disease progression and improving patient outcomes via AI-enabled evidence-based decision support to their doctors. This approach is likely to have a transformative impact on patient healthcare. In particular, ASME will focus on markers that can predict the possibility of developing side effects as well as the progression of the melanoma during adjuvant therapy. The research work will be based on a Karolinska University Hospital (KIH, Sweden) retrospective dataset from a cohort of melanoma patients that received adjuvant therapy in past years. 

How ASME will achieve these results?

ASME's approach is to take advantage of ASCAPE's strengths and openness and extend it to provide a clinical trial-ready ASME/ASCAPE integrated prototype and enhance it where appropriate. Actually, ASME will:

  • Create new algorithms to analyze and make use of the above-mentioned datasets for ML-based personalized outcome predictions and intervention suggestions, 

  • Extend the ASCAPE prototype so that it supports melanoma patients on the basis of the KIH dataset's data model translated into ASCAPE data format

  • Examine the two mentioned above AI solutions independently and in comparison, to each other, both analytically and from a clinician's perspective. 

Moreover, ASME will provide an external evaluation of ASCAPE's open AI Infrastructure with respect to (1) the ease with which existing algorithms can be extended to a new type of cancer and (2) the ease with which the open AI Infrastructure can be extended with new algorithms. 

Does it matter?

Of course, it does! ASME will make the first step in both assessing and realizing the ability to predict Quality-of-Life issues and the progression of the illness itself. Further research and randomized clinical trials will also help establish the exact impact of ASME/ASCAPE in oncological clinical practice, with regards to clinical outcomes, patient experience, and utilization of resources.