AI Model Developed by Hadassah Cancer Research Institute Can Detect Dominant Mutational Signatures Using Only a Few Mutations

Tuesday, July 9, 2024

The new model, announced in the journal Cell Reports Medicine, is poised to revolutionize personalized cancer care

Media Contact:
Helen Chernikoff

JERUSALEM, ISRAEL – The Hadassah Cancer Research Institute (HCRI) has achieved a major breakthrough in personalized cancer care: the development of a neural embedding model that uses machine learning, a kind of artificial intelligence (AI), as well as natural language processing (NLP) to detect dominant mutational signatures in targeted gene panels using only a few mutations, making it ideal for everyday clinical use. The research that led to the new model, called MESiCA for “mutational embeddings for signatures identification in clinical assays,” is descried in Cell Reports Medicine.

“MESiCA represents a major leap forward in personalized medicine,” said Dr. Michal Lotem, head of HCRI. “This innovative model offers a practical tool for oncologists, enabling them to make more informed decisions, ultimately leading to improved patient outcomes.”

The Hadassah Cancer Research Institute is the transitional research arm for oncology for the Hadassah Medical Organization, a leading teaching and research hospital system in Jerusalem.

Unlocking the Potential of Mutational Signatures

Cancer development is driven by mutations in DNA that leave behind so-called mutational signatures, i.e., unique patterns that act as fingerprints, revealing the underlying causes of the cancer. Some of these fingerprints have clinical implications for treatment plans. Traditionally, identifying these signatures has required analyzing a vast amount of data, often exceeding what is available in routine clinical settings.

“Current methods rely on targeted gene panel testing, which only analyzes a small portion of the genome,” said Dr. Aron Popovtzer, head of Hadassah’s Sharett Institute of Oncology, which works in partnership with HCRI. “This limitation has hindered our ability to detect mutational signatures and apply this information to personalize treatment plans.”

MESiCA: A Game-Changer for Personalized Care

Said Dr. Shai Rosenberg, Senior Neuro-Oncologist, head of Hadassah’s Laboratory for Cancer Computational Biology and the study’s principal investigator, “MESiCA has been validated in over 60,000 cancer samples, revealing crucial signatures linked to better survival rates and treatment responses.”

Added Dr. Adar Yaacov, the study’s lead author, “By enabling the detection of these signatures in routine tests, MESiCA empowers clinicians to prescribe more accurate personalize treatment plans, ultimately improving patient outcomes.”

This groundbreaking research paves the way for a new era of personalized cancer care. With MESiCA, the Hadassah Cancer Research Institute continues to demonstrate its commitment to developing innovative solutions to combat cancer.

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About the Hadassah Cancer Research Institute (HCRI):

The Hadassah Cancer Research Institute (HCRI) is the translational research hub of Hadassah Medical Organization in oncology. Working hand-in-hand with Hadassah’s Sharett Institute of Oncology, HCRI focuses on several pivotal domains of research, including immuno-oncology, cancer epigenetics, early cancer detection, cell therapy, bioinformatics, precision radiotherapy and a comprehensive biobank. From initial conceptualization to computational analysis, clinical trials and direct patient care, HCRI has one objective: to develop next-generation treatments to cure cancer.

About the Hadassah Medical Organization:

For more than a century, the Hadassah Medical Organization, the Jerusalem-based hospital system founded and owned by Hadassah, The Women’s Zionist Organization of America, has set the standard for excellence in medical treatment and research in Israel. The experience and ingenuity of Hadassah’s doctors and scientists have led to new tools and treatments in all areas of medicine, including therapeutics, diagnostic medical devices and digital health.

About Hadassah, The Women’s Zionist Organization of America:

Hadassah, The Women’s Zionist Organization of America, is the largest Jewish women’s organization in the United States. With nearly 300,000 members, donors and supporters, Hadassah brings women together to effect change on such critical issues as ensuring Israel’s security, combating antisemitism and promoting women’s health care. Through its Jerusalem-based hospital system, the Hadassah Medical Organization, Hadassah helps support exemplary care for more than 1 million people every year as well as world-renowned medical research. Hadassah’s hospitals serve without regard to race, religion or nationality and in 2005 earned a Nobel Peace Prize nomination for building bridges to peace through medicine. Hadassah also supports two youth villages that set at-risk youth in Israel on the path to a successful future. Visit or follow Hadassah on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Threads and X.