Interviews

Dr Lum Discusses Mitigating Treatment Toxicity Through an AI Engine

Pek Lum

Hi, I am Pek Lum, PhD. I am the co‑founder and CEO of an AI‑driven company called Auransa. Auransa is based in California, Palo Alto. We are an AI‑driven drug discovery company. We work on all kinds of diseases, but we focus especially on oncology, and oncology care, cancer care for patients.

I wanted to tell you a little bit about some of our programs, but especially around what we have been doing in terms of mitigating toxicities of cancer treatments and how our AI engine has been used to do that.

Today is about cardiotoxicity. As you know, anthracyclines are used quite a lot in cancer, and we have benefited a lot from chemotherapy. One of the dose‑limiting toxicity of anthracyclines is cardiotoxicity. You have an increased risk of developing heart diseases in survivors, especially if you are given a large dose of it to tackle the cancer.

For example, the treatment for childhood cancers for pediatric patients especially has been problematic. From an excerpt from the AJ news, looking at pediatric cancer survivors, the risk of developing heart diseases is much higher than for those without cancer. The survivors having had anthracyclines have problems with heart diseases, including heart failure, arrhythmias, cardiomyopathy, and so on.

With collaboration with a spin‑up from Stanford, who was developing a cardiomyocyte platform, we use the AI engine to look at data and came up with predicted compounds that would be useful to mitigate these toxicities. We took the predicted compounds tested in human cardiomyocytes and found a natural compound that is able to mitigate anthracycline‑induced cardiotoxicity.

With the combination of doxorubicin and other anthracyclines, we have shown both in vitro and in vivo that this compound is able to mitigate cardiotoxicity without affecting the efficacy of the chemotherapy itself. We believe that this is an important therapy use for such a compound, and we hope that this is something that we are hoping to develop further.

We are in partnership with a with a pharmaceutical company in Hong Kong, China, that is developing for the Chinese population first, and we are also hoping that this compound would be able to be developed in the US and also in Europe to protect cancer survivors after chemotherapy treatment. This molecule, we are hoping, would be able to be given to the patients at the time of chemotherapy.

The importance of mitigating the effects of cancer treatments is important. We are also looking into other kinds of adverse events such as gastrointestinal problems with other kinds of cancer treatments.

We hope that this will become a field that is not a side field but one of the important fields for cancer patients, not just having treatments for cancer but having treatments that will allow the patients to take cancer treatment but to mitigate the toxicity. Thank you.

To learn more, visit: https://www.auransa.com/

Stay in the know.
OncNet Newsletter