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    The DOE Science News Source is a Newswise initiative to promote research news from the Office of Science of the DOE to the public and news media.
    • 2019-03-05 10:05:47
    • Article ID: 709104

    New ORNL AI tool revolutionizes process for matching cancer patients with clinical trials

    • Credit: Ioana Danciu, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

      (From left) ORNL Associate Laboratory Director for Computing and Computational Sciences Jeff Nichols; ORNL Health Data Sciences Institute Director Gina Tourassi; DOE Deputy Under Secretary for Science Thomas Cubbage; ORNL Task Lead for Biostatistics Blair Christian; and ORNL Research Scientist Ioana Danciu were invited to the White House to showcase an ORNL-developed digital tool aimed at better matching cancer patients with clinical trials.

    A team of researchers from the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory Health Data Sciences Institute have harnessed the power of artificial intelligence to better match cancer patients with clinical trials.

    The researchers were one of ten teams to develop a digital tool to address complex challenges relevant to medical conditions such as cancer and Lyme disease as part of The Opportunity Project (TOP) Health Sprint, a 14-week effort sponsored by the Census Bureau, coordinated by the Department of Health and Human Services, and led by two Presidential Innovation Fellows.

    The TOP tools rely on emerging technologies and were built using open data from governmental agencies such as the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the Department of Veterans Affairs. The sprint was intended to strengthen collaborations between technologists, issue experts, and community leaders to address real-world challenges and improve patient lives.

    “One of the major obstacles facing cancer trial eligibility is the unstructured nature of the data,” said ORNL Team Lead Ioana Danciu. “Artificial intelligence and natural language processing tools refine and advances the process of matching cancer patients to promising clinical trials.”

    The team, which includes Health Data Sciences Institute Director Georgia Tourassi and ORNL researchers Blair Christian and Shamimul Hasan, developed a novel knowledge graph that presents information in a way that tools can be constructed to extract meaningful information from vast reams of unstructured text.

    By applying unsupervised machine learning and large-scale graph analytic methodologies, approaches similar to what Netflix uses to recommend programs and movies to customers, the team aims to find clinical trials with related goals.

    ORNL’s “SmartClinicalTrials” capability builds upon an existing NCI-DOE collaboration in which ORNL researchers lead a pilot effort to expand cancer surveillance capabilities and build statistical models capable of predicting the clinical course and outcomes for different types of cancer.

    The TOP team added clinical trial data to an exascale knowledge graph that connects data from disparate sources such as electronic health records, medical ontologies, and public datasets. “These tools make it possible to store the information and continuously add new information in a manner that allows for computational analysis and knowledge discovery down the road,” Danciu said.

    “Through the Health Data Sciences Institute, ORNL is building scientific capabilities to address nationally relevant problems in biomedical science and the healthcare delivery space,” said Tourassi. “Exercises such as the TOP sprint allow us to have a focused problem on which to catalyze research while simultaneously showing the power of cross-agency collaboration in enabling new insights from government data. This sprint illustrated that to democratize science, accelerate discovery, and create a useful product for the cancer community, we need a collaboration that unites open healthcare data, domain expertise and compute resources.”

    The research was also informed and enabled by ORNL’s AI Initiative, which harnesses the laboratory’s unique suite of expertise, compute capabilities, and user facilities to accelerate scientific breakthroughs and enhance national security.

    The Initiative has already demonstrated new capabilities in materials science, engineering design, accelerated learning, and scalability. For example, ORNL researchers have shown that machine learning algorithms can be used to extract information from signals with low signal-to-noise ratios; developed algorithms capable of accelerating modeling and simulation with very little training data; and designed novel biomimetic neuromorphic devices capable of detecting epileptic seizures.

    “ORNL’s investment in AI, together with its expertise in science, computing, and engineering and its world-class facilities, positions the lab to continue its leadership in science and national security,” said ORNL’s Director of Artificial Intelligence Program David Womble.

    The TOP team’s work represents the first “health challenge” issued under the Census Bureau-Department of Health and Human Services partnership and is a demonstration of ORNL’s AI capability in the space of health data science.

    “This was an exploratory project,” said Danciu. “Ultimately, we are interested in unleashing the power of the unique computing resources and data science expertise available within ORNL to find end-to-end solutions to big problems with broad societal impact, and clinical trial patient matching certainly fits that description.”

    She added that other challenge participants were large commercial companies, and the team would like to collaborate with industry to further realize the potential of AI in revolutionizing cancer trials, and cancer management more broadly.

    “Being able to draw from ORNL’s pool of scientific expertise and build on existing research pieces to enable progress highlights the imperative nature of the local, federal, and global AI initiatives,” Tourassi said.

    ORNL is managed by UT-Battelle for the Department of Energy's Office of Science, the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States. DOE’s Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit https://science.energy.gov.

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    Blowing bubbles: PPPL scientist confirms novel way to launch and drive current in fusion plasmas

    Blowing bubbles: PPPL scientist confirms novel way to launch and drive current in fusion plasmas

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    New AI Model Tries to Synthesize Patient Data Like Doctors Do

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    University of Maryland, Baltimore County wins DOE's 2019 CyberForce Competition(tm)

    University of Maryland, Baltimore County wins DOE's 2019 CyberForce Competition(tm)

    After a long suspenseful day, University of Maryland, Baltimore County earned the top spot as national winner of the U.S. Department of Energy's CyberForce Competition.

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    ORNL to host 13 teams for DOE CyberForce Competition

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    Oak Ridge National Laboratory will give college students the chance to practice cybersecurity skills in a real-world setting as a host of the Department of Energy's fifth collegiate CyberForce Competition on Nov. 16.

    Argonne nuclear engineer J'Tia Hart selected to Crain's Chicago Business "40 Under 40"

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    Argonne nuclear engineer J'Tia Hart has been named to Crain's Chicago Business's "40 Under 40" list, which recognizes young leaders in a variety of fields.

    Lab-Wide Stormwater Capture, Transportation Savings and Clean-Up Efforts Win Federal Recognition

    Lab-Wide Stormwater Capture, Transportation Savings and Clean-Up Efforts Win Federal Recognition

    Argonne National Laboratory has won a regional Federal Green Challenge award for conserving resources and saving taxpayers' money.

    PPPL wins $70,000 in project funding from DOE for entrepreneurship

    PPPL wins $70,000 in project funding from DOE for entrepreneurship

    The Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory receives funding from the U.S. Department of Energy for two projects to encourage entrepreneurship and mentor and encourage potential entrepreneurs.

    Brookhaven-Commonwealth Fusion Energy Project Wins DOE Funding

    Brookhaven-Commonwealth Fusion Energy Project Wins DOE Funding

    Brookhaven's Superconducting Magnet Division will partner with industry to develop and characterize superconducting power cables.

    U.S. Department of Energy to Hold Fifth CyberForce Competition(tm)

    U.S. Department of Energy to Hold Fifth CyberForce Competition(tm)

    Going on its fourth year, DOE's CyberForce Competition(tm) on Nov. 15-16 will give teams of cybersecurity students and professionals the opportunity to compete and refine their skills in real-time at 10 national laboratories across the U.S.


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    Harvesting Energy from Light using Bio-inspired Artificial Cells

    Harvesting Energy from Light using Bio-inspired Artificial Cells

    Scientists designed and connected two different artificial cells to each other to produce molecules called ATP (adenosine triphosphate).

    Engineering Living Scaffolds for Building Materials

    Engineering Living Scaffolds for Building Materials

    Bone and mollusk shells are composite systems that combine living cells and inorganic components. This allows them to regenerate and change structure while also being very strong and durable. Borrowing from this amazing complexity, researchers have been exploring a new class of materials called engineered living materials (ELMs).

    Excavating Quantum Information Buried in Noise

    Excavating Quantum Information Buried in Noise

    Researchers developed two new methods to assess and remove error in how scientists measure quantum systems. By reducing quantum "noise" - uncertainty inherent to quantum processes - these new methods improve accuracy and precision.

    How Electrons Move in a Catastrophe

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    Lanthanum strontium manganite (LSMO) is a widely applicable material, from magnetic tunnel junctions to solid oxide fuel cells. However, when it gets thin, its behavior changes for the worse. The reason why was not known. Now, using two theoretical methods, a team determined what happens.

    When Ions and Molecules Cluster

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    How an ion behaves when isolated within an analytical instrument can differ from how it behaves in the environment. Now, Xue-Bin Wang at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory devised a way to bring ions and molecules together in clusters to better discover their properties and predict their behavior.

    Tune in to Tetrahedral Superstructures

    Tune in to Tetrahedral Superstructures

    Shape affects how the particles fit together and, in turn, the resulting material. For the first time, a team observed the self-assembly of nanoparticles with tetrahedral shapes.

    Tracing Interstellar Dust Back to the Solar System's Formation

    Tracing Interstellar Dust Back to the Solar System's Formation

    This study is the first to confirm dust particles pre-dating the formation of our solar system. Further study of these materials will enable a deeper understanding of the processes that formed and have since altered them.

    Investigating Materials that Can Go the Distance in Fusion Reactors

    Investigating Materials that Can Go the Distance in Fusion Reactors

    Future fusion reactors will require materials that can withstand extreme operating conditions, including being bombarded by high-energy neutrons at high temperatures. Scientists recently irradiated titanium diboride (TiB2) in the High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR) to better understand the effects of fusion neutrons on performance.

    Better 3-D Imaging of Tumors in the Breast with Less Radiation

    Better 3-D Imaging of Tumors in the Breast with Less Radiation

    In breast cancer screening, an imaging technique based on nuclear medicine is currently being used as a successful secondary screening tool alongside mammography to improve the accuracy of the diagnosis. Now, a team is hoping to improve this imaging technique.

    Microbes are Metabolic Specialists

    Microbes are Metabolic Specialists

    Scientists can use genetic information to measure if microbes in the environment can perform specific ecological roles. Researchers recently analyzed the genomes of over 6,000 microbial species.


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