22 April 2021

Deciphex Led Consortium Secure €3m to Develop Novel Prognostic Tests to Avoid Overtreatment of Cancer Patients

Deciphex is pleased to announce its success, in collaboration with partners Oncomark and UCD, in securing a €3m Government of Ireland, Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund award to pursue its ongoing research program in cancer prognostics.

Cancer is expected to rank as the leading cause of death and the single most important barrier to increasing life expectancy in the 21st century. Breast and prostate cancer are the first and second most common non-cutaneous cancers in women and men respectively.  There is a major emphasis on precision medicine, which focuses on the individualisation of treatment through better prediction of patient outcome or response to therapy options. The majority of early-stage breast cancer patients are treated with chemotherapy, despite many not benefiting from such treatment, exposing these individuals to severe side effects. Similarly, approximately 80% of men have slow-growing or indolent prostate cancer and can leave their disease untreated while undergoing frequent monitoring known as active surveillance. Unwarranted or over-treatment burdens healthcare systems with additional patients and with huge costs.

Pathology services are integral in cancer diagnosis. Digitising pathology and applying  Artificial Intelligence (AI) to images of patients' biopsies is a key enabler for advancing personalised medicine. AI can identify characteristics that may not be visually apparent to a pathologist and offer new possibilities for better modelling of disease appearance and improve the prediction of disease stage and patient outcome. This, along with the integration of biomarker information and clinical information can better support healthcare professionals to make improved treatment decisions for cancer patients.

This Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment funded Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund award entitled: ‘AI-based Digital Pathology and Molecular Profiling to Improve Treatment Decisions for Cancer Patients’ is led by Deciphex, in conjunction with Oncomark and UCD. This collaboration with Oncomark and with Prof. William Gallagher and Prof. Bill Watson, who are leading researchers in Breast and Prostate Cancer, brings together a multidisciplinary team of experts that will accelerate the potential of technology making it from the lab bench to the market.  The project will provide the consortium with an opportunity to integrate both imaging and biomarker data with clinical information to address the overdiagnosis and overtreatment of both Prostate and Breast cancer patients.

Dr. Donal O’Shea, CEO of Deciphex, says

“We are really excited about this new project which is focussed on the development of novel AI-based diagnostic tests that can risk assess outcomes for both breast and prostate cancer patients, ultimately with the aim of avoiding unnecessary treatments for patients that are ultimately of low-risk of aggressive disease. As two-time recipients of the DTIF reward from the Department of Enterprise, we have been able to fund collaborations with some of Ireland's leading clinicians and clinical researchers. This funding allows the company to drive high-risk high-reward innovation strategies with a clear focus on product output.” 

Deciphex is a rapidly scaling Irish technology company with a team of 50 people, who are transforming pathology using a combination of digital pathology and artificial intelligence. Deciphex currently works extensively with pharma and clinical research organisations in supporting the safety assessment of new drugs and therapies.

All media enquires to: 

Katie Higgins 
Marketing Associate 

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