The Biodonostia Health Research Institute will participate over the next three years in the IPerGlio project, framed within the Joint Transnational Call for proposals issued by the UE 2022 on prevention in personalised medicine and which will be conducted by an international consortium whose partners include the Institute’s Computational Biology and Systems Biomedicine Group, lead by Ikerbasque Professor Marcos J. Araúzo Bravo. 

Glioblastoma is the most common brain cancer in the adult population and is characterised by the abnormal proliferation of cells in the central nervous system. Surgery is often the treatment of choice combined with other therapies, such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy and, more recently, immunotherapy.

Standard therapy has not changed in more than 15 years and patients with glioblastoma have an average survival rate of less than 15 months. That’s why new treatment strategies are required to improve patient care and quality of life in patients with this pathology.

Some 25% of clinical trials in glioblastoma evaluate immunotherapies and several of them have reported long-term survival benefits in 10-20% of patients. Similarly, the tumour mutational burden and inflammation have been related to the response to immunotherapy in glioblastoma. However, one obvious clinical benefit of immunotherapy has been hindered by to the lack of biomarkers in this highly heterogeneous disease.

All glioblastomas are recurrent, and the recurrence can only be limited by means of a strategy which considers the clinical and immunological correlations assessed in a specific perspective of sex and age. These correlations must be combined with key lifestyle/environmental factors using AI technologies. This is an innovative and powerful approach for guiding personalised interventions which improve the quality of life and care of patients with this pathology.

Under the IPerGlio project, the clinical parameters of glioblastoma patients from three hospitals will be compared with the lifestyle/environmental data by means of Business Intelligence. On applying AI-generated models to these data, IPerGlio will provide prognostic markers for the disease which will drive decisions on treatment combined with immunotherapy in clinical trials. To improve the learning process, the data obtained from the project will be compared with public datasets. IPerGlio will also inclusively address the ethical challenges related to the data security and exchange raised by personalised medicine and Artificial Intelligence approaches through the active participation of the interested parties and the patients.

The IPerGlio project will therefore considerably improve the making of clinical decisions in relation to glioblastoma on identifying the risk factors likely to enhance tertiary prevention and guarantee the effective and responsible delivery of personalised immunotherapy guided by Artificial Intelligence.

The other members of the project, alongside Biodonostia, are Oslo University Hospital (Norway), the Fondazione Policlinico Universitario Agostino Gemelli IRCCS (Italy), the Instituto Superiore di Sanità (Italy), the Luxembourg Institute of Health (Luxembourg) and the University Medical Center Göttingen (Germany).

Part of the project is co-funded by the Fundación Científica de la Asociación Española contra el Cáncer (AECC).