Novel Digital Medicine Platform Offers New Hope for Lymphoma Patients

From right: Madam Tay with Associate Professor Edward Chow and Assistant Professor Anand Jeyasekharan. After her relapse in September 2019, Madam Tay underwent QPOP-defined treatment and responded well. She is currently in remission.

Researchers from Cancer Science Institute of Singapore (CSI Singapore) and National University Cancer Institute of Singapore (NCIS) recently harnessed the Quadratic Phenotypic Optimisation Platform (QPOP), an AI-driven digital medicine platform, to revolutionize the treatment for lymphoma. Developed by a research team led by CSI Singapore Principal Investigator, Associate Professor Edward Chow, QPOP leverages artificial intelligence to derive the most effective drug combinations for a patient, enabling doctors to make better informed decisions on possible therapeutic treatments for patients.

In this study, 71-year-old Madam Peggy Tay, a patient with Diffuse Large B-cell Lymphoma (DLBCL) had her treatment plan devised based on QPOP analysis. Madam Tay was first diagnosed with DLBCL in May 2012. She underwent chemoimmunotherapy with a good response, but suffered a relapse in January 2019. After a brief response to salvage chemotherapy, her disease relapsed again in September 2019.

When QPOP was initially performed, results revealed that Madam Tay’s cancer had a strong sensitivity to the drug combination of palbociclib and everolimus, which has only been tested in breast cancer. With no available data on this combination in lymphoma, Madam Tay was first offered treatment with a standard regimen of R-GDP for relapsed lymphoma, which she did not respond well to as predicted by QPOP. Owing to the lack of treatment options available at that point, Madam Tay and her family were offered the off label (non-standard) treatment with the palbociclib-everolimus combination, and they were keen to give it a try.

CSI Singapore Principal Investigator Assistant Professor Anand Jeyasekharan, who is also the medical oncologist treating Madam Tay at NCIS, said,

“Madam Tay was started on the treatment in December 2019, and immediately started feeling better. She needed some dose reductions along the way, but the latest scans show complete resolution of her aggressive lymphoma lesion. She is now only taking palbociclib as a ‘maintenance’ therapy. She has had a remarkable response to treatment, and is currently in remission and doing well.”

In 2018, QPOP was also used to achieve positive treatment outcomes for a patient who was suffering from hepatosplenic T-cell lymphoma, another type of blood cancer.

Assoc Prof Chow said,

“These early successes in lymphoma have taught us a lot about how to use QPOP to improve patient outcomes. In addition to providing strong evidence that therapy custom-tailored to the patient is possible, this work has provided the foundation to move forward with the larger clinical trials needed to make QPOP more clinically available.”

Moving forward with the positive results of this clinical research study, the research team at CSI Singapore. NCIS and National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS) are now raising funds to conduct a phase 2 clinical trial. This trial will aid clinicians to understand if using QPOP-defined treatment will help improve the survival outcomes and quality of life for these patients.

Read more about this study at The Straits Times, Lianhe Zaobao and NUS News.