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Archive - Feb 11, 2018


Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation Awards $100,000 to Winners of “Lung Cancer Early Detection Challenge: Concept to Clinic”—Crowdsourcing Challenge Designed to Accelerate Delivery of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to the Clinic

On February 6, 2018, the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation (ALCF), headquartered in San Carlos, California, announced that Willi Gierke, an IT systems engineering student, will receive more than $30,000 as the leader in points in the “Lung Cancer Early Detection Challenge: Concept to Clinic.” Gierke, a master’s student at the Hasso Plattner Institute in Potsdam, Germany, and more than 600 contributors from around the world have been working in a collaborative fashion to create open-source software with the goal of building out artificial intelligence (AI) that will help lung cancer patients live longer. “The focus of the challenge was to make artificial intelligence advances useful, not just for data scientists interested in cutting-edge methods, but for clinicians working on the front lines of lung cancer detection and the patients they serve,” said Bonnie J. Addario, a 14-year lung cancer survivor and ALCF founder. “My hope is that the winners of this challenge continue the momentum of this exciting project to help radiologists detect lung cancer earlier and save lives.” During the challenge, run by DrivenData ( in partnership with ALCF, contributors used input from patients and radiologists to build out state-of-the-art algorithms applied to the detection and assessment of individual nodules from CT scans. Throughout the competition, a technical panel of experts awarded points and prizes to data scientists, engineers, User Interface (UI) developers, and coders based on how valuable their submissions were to the project in the different areas of need: AI-powered prediction models, back-end engineering, front-end design implementation, and community development.

Scientists ID Biomarkers for Cancer Survival Protein HSP70; Will Enable Studies of Small Molecules That Inhibit Hsp70 In Artificial Environments and Begin Testing Ways to Develop These Molecules into Cancer Therapeutics

A recent study from the University of Michigan (U-M) Life Sciences Institute and the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), has opened new options to further develop a potential cancer-fighting therapy, clearing an early hurdle in the lengthy drug-discovery process. The findings, published online on December 18, 2017 in the Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC), reveal new ways to measure the activity of a protein that is associated with poor prognosis in cancer patients -- heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70) (image) -- and remove a barrier to developing potential Hsp70-based therapies. The article is titled “X-Linked Inhibitor of Apoptosis Protein (XIAP) is a Client of Heat Shock Protein 70 (Hsp70) and a Biomarker of Its Inhibition.” The significance of these findings led the study to be chosen as the JBC Editors' Pick for the upcoming February 16, 2018 issue. This honor is reserved for the top 2 percent of the more than 6,600 papers published in the journal each year, in terms of the overall importance of the research. When Hsp70 is present at increased levels, cancer cells are more likely to survive and become resistant to chemotherapeutics. Conversely, when this protein is inhibited in cells, tumor cells are less able to divide, and they eventually die. Because of its apparent role in cancer cell survival, researchers are interested in developing drugs that block the protein's activity. But these efforts have been hindered by a lack of Hsp70 biomarkers -- measurable surrogates that scientists can evaluate to ensure the compounds they are testing really do what they are supposed to do. Scientists have found some small molecules that affect Hsp70 in an artificial environment, where they can directly measure Hsp70 activity.