Harnessing bio-photonics and Artificial Intelligence to unlock new possibilities in Alzheimer’s drug discovery.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia. As Europe’s population ages, incidences of Alzheimer’s are rising, increasing the urgent need for new treatments but clinical trials are failing and this is hindering treatment progress.

Patient screening for clinical trials is a major barrier – four in five patients taking part in clinical trials for Alzheimer’s disease drop out due to current screening methods, which are invasive and risky procedures.

Wild Card 2019 winner iLoF (short for Intelligent Lab on a Fiber) has found an answer. It is using machine-learning to develop an non-invasive way of screening patients for clinical trials, which will accelerate the development of new and personalised Alzheimer’s treatments and make them more economically viable.

of the European population is estimated to have Alzheimer’s disease

of patients screened are classed as unsuitable after being subjected to various invasive, uncomfortable and risky procedures

The number of major Alzheimer’s trials that have failed

iLoF is creating a pathway which promotes breakthroughs in Alzheimer’s disease research.

Founders Luis Valente, Dr Joana Pavia and Prof Paula Sampaio began their Wild Card journey as a team, bringing with them a new technology and a plan to provide a system for early diagnosis for Alzheimer’s disease. During the Hackathon phase, their team grew with the addition of Dr Mehak Mumtaz, while a deeper dive into the issues changed their proposition from an early diagnosis to a stratification tool.

Now based in an incubator in Portugal, the team are making great strides towards making their technology clinic-ready. iLoF has created brand new, patented technology that screens patients non-invasively. It uses photo imaging technology, called bio-photonics, combined with Artificial Intelligence to detect the gold-standard proteins and exosomes – individual biomarkers of each patient’s disease – to classify suitable patients for clinical trials.

The technology cuts the cost of screening patients by 40 per cent, slashes the time spent screening by 70 per cent and it is expected to reduce the 90 per cent of patients who drop out of trials voluntarily due to current screening methods.

Ultimately, better screening methods will deliver greater research and accelerate the discovery of drugs that could have change the course of the lives of people with dementia. According to the European Brain Council, as many as one in three of us will develop a brain disorder at some point in life, and new developments like iLoF play a significant role.

“We all know the social tragedy behind Alzheimer’s – but the industry problem behind that is less visible. The [Wild Card] programme allowed us to study a whole industry at a deeper level and understand that in order to solve Alzheimer’s and enable a treatment, we first need precise, personalised, inexpensive tools that all stakeholders can apply. And because of that, suddenly, iLoF was born.”

iLoF co-founders

     Find out more about iLoF here

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