EU project aims to identify best MS treatment for given patient using AI

CLAIMS platform to aid in forecasting person's likely disease course

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by Mary Chapman |

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A European Union (EU) initiative is bringing scientists together to develop an artificial intelligence (AI)-based platform that could help in predicting the course of multiple sclerosis (MS) for each person.

The consortium’s project, which aims to “offer clinicians a holistic overview of the MS patient” — from disease diagnosis through identifying which MS treatment appears to be best for an individual — will receive nearly €10 million (about $11 million) over four years.

Called “Clinical Impact Through AI-assisted MS Care (CLAIMS),” the work is part of the EU’s Innovative Health Initiative, a public-private partnership that primarily works to translate health research and innovation into patient and societal benefits.

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CLAIMS is one of the first of five initiative projects approved for funding. About half the money will come from Horizon Europe, the EU’s framework program for research and development.

The consortium is headed by Charité — Universitätsmedizin Berlin, in Germany, one of the 15 public and private partners worldwide involved in CLAIMS.

“Drawing on diverse information on each MS patient, including the results of different tests as well as information on any other diseases or health problems they may have, the platform would predict how the patient’s MS would likely progress with different treatments,” the CLAIMS initiative states on a webpage.

Globally, an estimated 2.8 million people are living with MS, including about 1.2 million in the EU. Each patient journey is different, though, which can make the complex progressive autoimmune disorder difficult to treat. More favorable outcomes for “the disease of a thousand faces” require therapies that are as individually tailored as possible, Charité stated in a university press release.

“Our goal with the CLAIMS project is to personalize the treatment of people with MS even more,” said Friedemann Paul, MD, the initiative’s coordinator and director of the Experimental and Clinical Research Center jointly run by Charité and the Max Delbrück Center, also in Berlin.

“To that end, we plan to develop predictive models that can forecast the course of the disease for each individual patient based on their individual data and simulate the effects of different medications. Patient involvement will be a crucial element of this,” Paul said.

To develop the program, the consortium will seek to leverage the clinical, scientific, technical, and communicative expertise of its partners — from hospitals and universities to companies and a Belgium patient group — which collectively represent nine mostly European countries.

The diagnostic platform will employ algorithms trained on clinical data from MS patients, including MRI scans, and blood and eye test results. A later goal is for the platform to be able to factor in other diseases a patient might have.

CLAIMS’ predictive models to allow right MS treatment at right time

Comorbidities from high blood pressure to depression “and their associated treatments can make it even harder to select the right treatment for the patient’s MS,” CLAIMS noted on its site.

There are also plans for an app patients can use to enter information about their MS symptoms, financial burdens, and how they’re feeling overall. Once data is stripped of identifying information and transmitted in accordance with privacy laws, the information will be analyzed by advanced AI models based on deep learning.

The project’s overarching aim is to be able to provide clinicians with a view of each person’s disease state that is as holistic and nuanced as possible. In so doing, its research team will learn more about MS, including how progressive and relapsing forms of the disease develop.

“We hope this holistic view will allow every individual MS patient to receive the right medication at the right time,” Paul said. “I firmly believe this approach will allow us to make significant improvements in quality of life and prognosis for people with MS.”