AI Platform Gives CSHL Researchers Access to Vast Amounts of Data

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory licenses Epistemic AI's platform for CF research

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by Andrea Lobo, PhD |

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The Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) has licensed an artificial intelligence platform, developed by Epistemic AI, to accelerate cystic fibrosis (CF)-related discoveries.

The platform, which also contains CF-specific resources, will help the lab’s scientists to accelerate their research by providing easy access to publications and clinical trials, and connection to multiple databases.

Its use may help provide insight into the underlying relationships among diseases, their diagnosis, treatments, and biological functions, and contribute to a greater understanding of targeted therapies.

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Epistemic AI partners with Boomer Esiason Foundation to promote CF research

In 2020, Epistemic AI established a partnership with the Boomer Esiason Foundation (BEF) — which is focused on raising funds, awareness, and support for the CF community — to advance disease knowledge and care through the use of Epistemic AI’s unique Knowledge Discovery Platform.

The foundation’s venture philanthropy model was key to providing CSHL access to the platform.

“Working with BEF has been an amazing experience,” Stefano Pacifico, CEO of Epistemic AI, said in a company press release.

“We expect that our partnership with the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory will prove to be enormously beneficial to cystic fibrosis research, while simultaneously providing CSHL researchers with actionable insights in cancer, genomics and neuroscience,” Pacifico added.

CF is a genetic disease characterized by the buildup of abnormally sticky and thick mucus in various organs, including the lungs, pancreas, liver, and intestines. It is caused by mutations in the CFTR gene, which provides the instructions to produce a channel protein of the same name that regulates the flow of water and salts in and out of cells.

Since the discovery of the CFTR gene 32 years ago as the cause of CF, research on the disease has made significant advances. Research has been focused on specific and rare mutations; improving CFTR protein function with CFTR modulators; complications such as infections, inflammation, loss of pancreatic function, and gastrointestinal symptoms; and optimizing treatment regimens.

We expect that our partnership with the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory will prove to be enormously beneficial to cystic fibrosis research

The Knowledge Discovery Platform’s approach is different from outdated methods involving keyword or semantic search. It uses artificial intelligence tools to combine millions of documents and data points into a so-called Knowledge Map that “reflects the relevant entities and relationships specific to a set of initial queries,” Epistemic AI’s platform page states.

The gathered information creates a path that can rapidly identify research gaps, find real-world evidence, uncover new connections, elucidate new hypotheses, and explore interactions and causal relations.

The platform has resources specific to CF, such as CFTR variants, bacterial infections, and antimicrobial-resistant bacteria, such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus, and Escherichia coli.

By using the new platform, CSHL researchers can explore vast amounts of biomedical data rapidly and effortlessly.

They can use the platform to access biomedical data from several sources, including published studies and reviews, data on genes, proteins, signaling pathways, and cell types, disease symptoms, therapies and patents, clinical trials, and clinical interpretation and guidelines.

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CSHL is a leading international biomedical research institution, home to eight Nobel Prize winners, employing nearly 600 scientists, students, and technicians who contribute to scientific discoveries in the areas of cancer, neuroscience, plant biology, and quantitative biology.

The platform will also be available to the more than 12,000 visiting scientists from around the world who participate in the institution’s Meeting & Courses Programs, at both the Long Island and Suzhou, China, campuses. Many of these scientists have recently experienced the platform with substantial success.

BEF was funded by Boomer Esiason, a former professional football player, and his wife Cheryl when their son, Gunnar Esiason, was diagnosed with CF in 1993. It raises funds ($150 million to date) and awareness for CF.

Through its partnership with BEF, Epistemic AI collaborates with academia, foundations, biopharma companies, and hospitals, to contribute to CF research and development.

The partners also host regular webinars to help patients understand current trends in disease research, and how these will affect CF management and treatment.

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