Project Goals and Objectives – Expected results

Data from countries with well organised screening programs and cancer registries indicate that the vast majority among participants that developed Cervical Cancer (CxCa) are due to underestimation of cases that had at least one abnormal Pap test. In addition, women that receive an abnormal result often get discouraged and do not comply with subsequent invitations for additional examinations. The proposed project aims to develop an intelligent decision making system in order to identify women at true risk of cervical cancer development. In order to develop the proposed system a combinatorial approach of high throughput technologies will be used; a) Molecular biology techniques: DNA micro-arrays, mRNA detection, multiparameteric Flow Cytometry (FC), Cytomics and Methylomics, and b) Bioinformatics, Computational Modelling and Artificial Intelligence methods. Cumulative risk scenarios that are expected to be produced as outputs of the proposed system will be accessed and further processed with financial feasibility methods. Combination of these results, processed with semantic & ontology methods, will lead to the final product (HPVGuard) that consists of a knowledge-intensive service that will allow the design of screening programs with personalised parameters (Personalised Based Screening, PBS) for every participating woman. The expected goals of this project can be categorised as follows:

1. Medical

  • Balance the scale between sensitivity and specificity of each biomarker-method-medical practice in identification of women at true risk of CxCa development
  • Reduce unnecessary referrals for colposcopy
  • Minimise unnecessary surgical therapeutic interventions that are possible to create side-effects
  • Define in-time and with credibility the cumulative risk of cervical cancer development within 5 years in women that have been treated for intra-epithelial lesions
  • Intercalate personalised medical and biological data in the definition of the necessary follow-up intervals and aid in outlining triaging strategies for population based screening programs, based on the rational calculation of the cumulative risk of progression of the current clinical state to a pre-cancerous lesion

2. Technological

  • Design of a multiplex mRNA analysis assay targeting the quantification of different CxCa related biomarkers at a single cell analysis level (Cytomics)
  • Design of a Bead based multiplex – Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) detection assay targeting DNA methylation profiling of CxCa (Methylomics)
  • Design of a FC based platform allowing Cytomics and Methylomics analysis in a single instrument
  • Development of a 3-classifier/predictor weighted majority voting system composed by advanced intelligent systems, such as an Optimised NeuroFuzzy Artificial Neural Network by Genetic Algorithms, a Fuzzy Bayesian Network, and a Fuzzy SVM, or even a predictor based on Quantum Computing (Bioinformatics and Artificial Intelligence)

3. Social

  • Flexible design of population based screening programs according to the specific requirements of each involved catchment area and country
  • Optimised allocation of resources especially under stringent economical conditions
  • Reduction of the social cost due to the increased accuracy of the PBS program and due to the reduction of the un-necessary therapeutic treatments and the associated psychological overhead of the involved women

4. Commercial

  • Exploitation of the usage of Cytomics and Methylomics in CxCa early detection and PBS
  • Exploitation of the HPVGuard DSS potentials in the medical market addressed to healthcare providers, insurance companies and public investment national health decision makers
  • Exploitation of HPVGuard for the creation of case-based reasoning OSPs