The treatment of cancer with new, individual cell therapies is usually very expensive and time-consuming. Before treatment can take place, patients often have to wait a long time for the production of individualized therapeutics and lose valuable time. In the EU project AIDPATH, researchers are now developing a system for the production of so-called CAR-T cells that is able to integrate patient-related data and biomarkers into the therapy process using artificial intelligence. The CAR-T cells are produced close to the patient directly in the hospital. In the future, it may be possible to provide people with cancer with treatment tailored to their needs much more quickly.
In the EU project "AIDPATH", the partners from industry and research will set up an automated and intelligent system over four years that is able to produce a targeted and patient-specific cell therapy directly at the treatment site. In addition, the project deals with the integration of the system into the hospital environment, taking into account logistics processes as well as data management and data security.
AIDPATH and modern CAR-T cell therapy
The relatively new CAR T cell therapy is based on genetically modified T cells. These are endogenous white blood cells that make up part of the immune system. The T cells are taken from the patient's blood for the treatment and equipped with a so-called chimeric antigen receptor (CAR). This receptor enables the cells to recognize and destroy tumor cells. CAR-T cell therapy has been used in Germany for two years and is paving the way for completely new treatment approaches in hematology and oncology. However, complex logistics processes from central production facilities and inflexible production and application schemes still require a lot of time with previous CAR-T cell therapy. In addition, it has not yet been possible to take the individual cell properties of the patient into account, so that the success of the therapy cannot always be guaranteed.
Artificial intelligence for targeted CAR-T cell therapy
For a therapy with CAR-T cells tailored to the patient, the partners in the EU project "AIDPATH" rely on artificial intelligence (AI), which includes the patient's individual data and biomarkers in the therapy process. In this way, highly potent and optimally adapted CAR-T cell products were to be produced that would target the modified cells in the patient's blood or the tumor. AI technology is also used to control upstream and downstream production and logistics processes to improve scheduling and resource planning. A key advantage of automated, decentralized production is the potential to shorten production times and make therapy available to patients sooner. In addition, costs and utilization of hospital resources can be reduced. Overall, patients have improved access to this form of therapy.
The prototype for the intelligent and automated production of therapeutics in the future
»In the EU research project AIDPATH we are creating a prototype for the intelligent and automated production of therapeutics of the future. The hospital environment is intelligently integrated and aspects of logistics, capacity planning, data management and IT security are also taken into account. CAR-T cell production takes place in a compact system that can be operated by the physicians on site in the clinic. This enables personalized treatments directly at the treatment site. In this way, we are enabling a paradigm shift in the supply of patients with personalized therapeutics," says Niels König, head of the production measurement technology department at the Fraunhofer IPT, who is coordinating the project.
The project is divided into three work areas in which an intelligent and automated plant for the production of therapeutics will be set up over four years. The first area of work consists of the automation of the manufacturing processes and the system networking, in which the Fraunhofer IPT, the Fraunhofer IZI, as well as AglarisCell, Fujifilm, the University Hospital Würzburg, FORTH and the University College of London will be involved. The second area of work deals with the IoT Infrastructure realized by the Fraunhofer IPT, Red Alert Labs and Ortec. The third work area deals with the development and implementation of AI technology, in which Fraunhofer IPT, IRIS, FORTH, SZTAKI, Fundacio Clinic per a la recerca Biomedica, Panaxea and Hitachi will be involved.
The EU project AIDPATH is funded under the funding number 101016909 for four years from the European Commission's "Horizon 2020" funding measure.
- Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology IPT, Aachen
- Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology IZI, Leipzig
- Panaxea BV, Amsterdam
- Foundation for Research and Technology – Hellas, (FORTH), Patras
- IRIS Technology Solutions, Sociedad Limitada, Madrid
- Red Alert Labs, Maisons Alfort
- Fujifilm Irvine Scientific Inc., Tilburg
- Hitachi Chemical Advanced Therapeutics Solutions, Allendale
- Aglaris Cell SL, Tres Cantos
- University Hospital Würzburg, Würzburg
- Ortec Optimization Technology BV, Zoetermeer
- Fundacio Clinic per a la recerca Biomedica, Barcelona
- SZTAKI Institute for Computer Science and Control, Budapest
- University College London, London
Source: Press release Fraunhofer IPT from January 27.01.2021th, XNUMX