A groundbreaking study led by Dr. Pablo Villoslada has resulted in the development of an artificial intelligence (AI) tool aimed at forecasting the progression of multiple sclerosis (MS) in diagnosed individuals. Published in the Journal of Neurology, the study, a product of the European Commission Sys4MS project, involved collaboration with esteemed institutions across Europe, including the Hospital Clínic de Barcelona, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, IRCCS Ospedale Policlinico San Martino in Genoa, Italy, and Oslo University Hospital in Norway.

Over a span of two years, the study meticulously tracked a cohort of more than 300 MS patients and 100 healthy individuals, subjecting them to comprehensive clinical assessments, cognitive evaluations, and imaging tests, including brain magnetic resonance imaging and optical coherence tomography. Additionally, genetic analysis and blood tests were conducted to examine the patients’ biomarkers. The resulting data were subsequently validated using a second cohort of 271 MS patients.

Utilizing various AI and machine learning techniques, the developed tool demonstrated remarkable accuracy, particularly in predicting changes in patients’ conditions and determining the necessity for alternative, more efficacious treatments. Through a detailed study of the patients and using artificial intelligence tools, we can profile which patients will be more active and, therefore, advise them with more knowledge about treatments that may have more side effects but which may be more effective in controlling the disease.

While not yet deployable in clinical settings, the predictive capabilities of this tool offer promise for enhancing treatment decisions for MS patients, considering the differing levels of treatment effectiveness and associated risks. Dr. Villoslada underscores the importance of integrating clinical information and magnetic resonance imaging data, which are readily accessible in healthcare settings, in predicting patient outcomes.

Looking ahead, researchers are committed to extending the study’s follow-up period to seven years, recognizing the long-term impact of MS, which predominantly affects individuals under 40 years old with an average survival time of around 30 years.

MS, an autoimmune disorder characterized by the immune system’s attack on nerve cell protective sheaths, remains incurable and leads to disability in affected individuals. In Catalonia, the prevalence stands between 40-60 people per 100,000 inhabitants.

Supported by the European Commission ERACoSysMed Programme Sys4MS project and the Carlos III Health Institute, this study represents a significant advancement in leveraging AI for improving the management of MS and enhancing patient outcomes.

Article written by Hospital Clínic| Image by Unsplash



Hospital Clínic