Gradiant provides 10 countries with technology to improve the fight against cancer

The centre leads a European project with 16 partners to perfect treatments

The first clinical trials on patients begin in May 2021

Gradiant is coordinating a pioneering international project to improve the lives of cancer survivors and medical decision-making through artificial intelligence (AI), big data analysis (Big Data) and the detection of circulating tumour cells (liquid biopsy).

In the project, called PERSIST and involving hospitals, companies and technology centres in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Italy, Latvia, Portugal, Switzerland, Turkey and Spain, Gradiant is providing common software to monitor patients remotely in real time and support doctors’ decision-making in relation to prognosis and choice of treatment, and improve care for cancer patients. This Big Data platform will enable new models of health data analysis through technologies such as artificial intelligence.

In addition, Gradiant is developing a system based on algorithms that allows the automatic and immediate measurement of circulating tumour cells, which are indicators of metastasis. Currently, this analysis is carried out personally by laboratory technicians, which slows down the diagnostic process. In this way, in addition to developing high-quality care, it reduces the costs and time involved in cancer treatment.

The first clinical trials, in which 32 doctors from various specialties (oncology, psychology or physiotherapy, among others) and 160 volunteer patients are participating, will begin in May in four hospitals: the Complexo Hospitalario Universitario de Ourense (CHOU), the University Clinical Centre of Maribor (Slovenia), Liège University Hospital (Belgium) and the Riga East University Hospital with the support of the Institute of Preventive and Clinical Medicine of the University of Latvia (Latvia).

The Galician hospital, under the direction of the head of the Oncology Department, Jesús García Mata, will carry out these trials in 40 patients (20 breast cancer and 20 colorectal cancer). Each of them will carry a smart phone and a smart watch for 20 months, which allows continuous, remote and individualised monitoring, recording in real time all the biomedical data necessary for the study, such as blood pressure, heart rate, sleep quality, as well as indicators relating to their quality of life (diet, sport, mood, etc.).

“PERSIST is a very ambitious project for two reasons: it is about introducing state-of-the-art technology in the fight against cancer and doing so jointly at an international level. We are looking for a radical advance in the quality of the monitoring of cancer patients”, explains Luis Pérez Freire, executive manager of Gradiant.

The Galician technology centre has been appointed as coordinator of the international consortium, which is supported by the European Union (EU), through the Horizon 2020 programme (H2020), with a funding of 5 million euros and involving 12 other international entities.

One of the objectives of the European Union with the launch of the H2020 programme is to create a science of excellence that will strengthen Europe’s position on the world scientific scene. To this end, it has substantially increased the European Research Council’s (ERC) funding, with a budget of 76.88 billion euros.

340 innovate projects in more than 30 countries

With a staff of 100 employees and a turnover of 5.3 million euros in 2020, Gradiant has established itself as a benchmark in the national R&D&I system. Since 2007, Gradiant has concluded more than 340 projects. In addition, it has led directly from Galicia the conception and development of technological applications in collaboration with institutions, public or private, from more than 30 countries.