ASP projects

InfMed: Quantitative methods in cancer treatment: engineering supports the clinical analysis

The project was created on the basis of evidences suggesting that the use of quantitative methods in medical diagnostics is a rapidly growing field.
There is a common consensus that qualitative methods, based on past human experience and pictorial descriptions, can be supported by quantitative measures and analysis. For instance, image segmentation, statistical data analysis, database management and mathematical modeling are tools that are progressively entering the medical practice. The initial idea of the project was to exploit the interest and the participation of both the “Istituto per la Ricerca e la Cura del Cancro” (IRCC), an outstanding center in cancer research and treatment, and “Gruppo RGI”, a big software company located in Ivrea, in order to link together the two souls and pillars on which bioinformatics is founded. Specifically, IRCC was interested in understanding how informatics could help them in managing their experimental data and figures. Furthermore, IRCC is interested in developing mathematical models and computer simulations in order to attain insight in the experiments they were running. RGI was interested in identifying what was the sub-field of bioinformatics being the most promising, useful and productive. Their interests spanned over the entire field, ranging from the development of image analysis tools to the management of huge genomic and proteomic databases, developing a medical decision support system and electronic health (e-Health) management as well as constructing the virtual physiological human (VPH) and focusing on protein folding visualization tools. All these also involved a decision on the type of business to build, e.g., B-to-B or B-to-C (business to business or business to customer).
Starting from this common background the activities of the two teams differentiated in the sense that one looked more closely at the needs of IRCC research by trying to find what could have been the most valuable contributions of informatics while the other looked more closely at the ICT applications in the field of bio-informatics that could be developed by RGI. In the former case IRCC was the leading industrial partner and RGI acted as a support and consulting partner, in the latter case it was the opposite. Focusing on pancreatic cancers as an application, Team A identified two possible modeling approaches and soon run into the problems of evaluating all required parameters and classifying all the figures of the experiments. This originated the idea of building an ontology-based database. Team B identified a Wikipedia-like approach as the most promising tool to build a worldwide accessible e-Health database system.
One of the outcomes of the project, unwillingly mediated by the two groups, was to bring together the two partners above, so that each one now knows what the other can offer, what are their expertises and what are their needs. Another valuable result was that RGI decided to found a new company of the group that will be located in Pont S. Martin, explicitly focusing on bioinformatics.

Principal Academic Tutors
Luigi Preziosi
Mathematics, Politecnico di Torino

Academic Tutors
Davide Ambrosi
Mathematics, Politecnico di Torino
Giancarlo Baldi
Materials Science and Chemical Engineering, Politecnico di Torino
Luca Formaggia
Mathematics, Politecnico di Milano
Candido Pirri
Physics, Politecnico di Torino
Lamberto Rondoni
Mathematics, Politecnico di Torino

External institution
Istituto per la Ricerca sul Cancro
di Candiolo (IRCC )

External Tutors
Vito Rocca
Guido Serini

Team members
Alessandro Satriano [Team controller], Biomedical Engineering
Annarita Bernardini, Biomedical Engineering
Marco Branca [Project Communication Coordinator], Computer Engineering
Vincenzo Carbone, Mathematical modelling in Engineering
Gabriele Martinelli, Mathematical Engineering
Valeria Vitelli, Mathematical Engineering

Alessio Montone [Team controller], Computer Engineering
Matteo Lesinigo, Mathematical Engineering
Lorenzo Montrucchio, Computer Engineering

Download the poster of the Project