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Avatar’s Motion AI Tech Helps Researchers Detect Rare Diseases | The Optimist Daily




Avatar is a 2009 epic science fiction action film being played on tablet

Researchers are using motion capture artificial intelligence technology that brings characters to life in films like Avatar to track the onset of diseases that affect movement, according to a recent BBC article.

The new system uses artificial intelligence to analyze body movements and diagnose disorders twice as quickly as the best doctors.

Dr. Valeria Ricotti, a member of the team working on the new breakthrough, told BBC News that she was “completely blown away by the results”.

“The impact on diagnosis and developing new drugs for a wide range of diseases could be absolutely massive.”

A 10-year-old system with proven results

The technology, which has been in development for ten years, was already evaluated in two different studies on individuals with Friedreich’s ataxia (FA) and Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD).

Professor Aldo Faisal of Imperial College London, one of the experts who came up with the idea, said it has numerous advantages over traditional techniques of diagnosis.

“Our new approach detects subtle movements that humans can’t pick up on,” he explained. “It has the capability to transform clinical trials as well as improve diagnosis and monitoring for patients.”

It also offers the ability to expedite and reduce the cost of medication studies.

“We will be able to trial more drugs with less patients at a lower cost,” remarked Professor Paola Giunti, Head of University College London’s Ataxia Centre.

”This is going to attract the pharmaceutical industry to invest in rare diseases,” added Professor Richard Festenstein from the Medical Research Council’s London Institute of Medical Sciences who aided in developing the new tech.

“The main beneficiary from our research is going to be patients because the technology is going to be able to come up with new treatments much more quickly.’’

The system’s key advantage is its advanced, quick prognostic skills.

A team at Imperial College tested it on FA patients and discovered that it could forecast disease progression over a twelve-month period in less than half the time it would ordinarily take an industry expert.

Another team at Great Ormond Street Hospital tested it on 21 boys with DMD and discovered that it could anticipate how their movement will be affected six months later far more accurately than a doctor.

Early detection: critical for disease surveillance

At the moment, there is no cure for either FA or DMD, and early detection is critical for disease monitoring. FA affects one out of every 50,000 adults, but DMD affects 20,000 children worldwide each year.

By enabling early detection, the new technology can give new hope to patients suffering from debilitating hereditary disorders with no widely available treatments. The earlier a diagnosis is made, the better the prospects patients have of effectively controlling their diseases.

James Cameron directed, wrote, co-produced, and co-edited the 2009 science fiction picture Avatar.

A sequel, Avatar: The Way of Water, was released in 2022.

The post Avatar’s motion AI tech helps researchers detect rare diseases first appeared on The Optimist Daily: Making Solutions the News.


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Universal Cancer Immunotherapy May Be Possible Through Protein Engineering | The Optimist Daily





Oncology medicine and cancer treatment concept as a tumor or tumour being treated with white blood cells attacking the disease as an immunotherapy 3D illustration.

Scientists at ETH Zurich have made significant progress in developing a ready-to-use immunotherapy treatment for cancer. A synthetic protein modification can allow immune cells from any donor to be delivered to any patient without the risk of an adverse immunological reaction.

What is immunotherapy?

The human immune system is a robust first line of defense against disease, but cancer has a few sneaky tricks up its sleeve that allow it to hide and avoid elimination. Immunotherapy is a new treatment that gives the immune system the upper hand by supercharging a patient’s immune cells to seek out and destroy cancers.

Typically, the approach involves extracting a patient’s immune cells, genetically modifying them to spot cancer, and reintroducing them into the body. Not only does this require time, which many cancer patients lack, but it isn’t always practical if a patient’s immune system isn’t up to the task.

Immune cells from a healthy patient would be ideal, but this comes with its own set of challenges. Because immune cells are adept at recognizing and attacking “foreign” cells, donated cells frequently end up targeting the recipient’s healthy cells.

What is TCR-CD3?

The ETH Zurich researchers discovered a solution to potentially overcome this obstacle in the latest study, paving the path for standardized, off-the-shelf immunotherapy. The researchers focused on a specific chemical combination known as TCR-CD3, located on the surface of killer T cells, and activate them towards specific antibodies – including both desired triggers such as cancer and unwanted ones on healthy cells.

The researchers developed a synthetic version of the TCR-CD3 complex that prevents killer T cells from attacking healthy cells while yet allowing them to be modified to target cancer cells. So far, laboratory tests on human cells have been positive, with no signs of harmful immunological responses.

While there is still much work to be done, such as testing in human patients, the team believes that the research will eventually lead to a standardized, off-the-shelf cancer therapy product that can be administered to any patient without the need to remove, engineer, and return their own immune cells. This would make it far less expensive, simpler, and faster to roll out to patients.

The researchers have applied for patents and intend to establish a spin-off company to assist in bringing the approach to the market.

The post Universal cancer immunotherapy may be possible through protein engineering first appeared on The Optimist Daily: Making Solutions the News.

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