Tokyo uni, Fujitsu harness ‘Fugaku’ for anti-cancer drug study

Fujitsu and the Tokyo Medical and Dental University (TMDU) have unveiled a new technology that uses AI to discover new causal mechanisms of drug resistance in cancer treatments from clinical data. 

Leveraging the world’s fastest supercomputer “Fugaku,” the new technology enables high-speed calculation of 20,000 variables of data within a single day, and allows for the discovery of previously unknown causal relationships relating to drug resistance in cancer cells from 1,000 trillion different possibilities.

Fujitsu and TMDU applied this technology to gene expression level data obtained from cancer cell lines in order to analyse drug resistance against anticancer drugs. They succeeded in extracting a new causal mechanism of a previously unknown gene that suggests a cause of resistance to lung cancer drugs. 

The new technology is expected to contribute to the acceleration of drug discovery and the realisation of cancer therapies individualised for each patient.

The technology was developed under the theme of “elucidation of the cause and diversity of cancer using large-scale data analysis and AI technology,” an initiative supported by TMDU, Kyoto University and Fujitsu as part of the supercomputer Fugaku achievement acceleration program.

“Promising technologies like Fujitsu’s AI technology for scientific discovery may one day contribute to the discovery of biomarkers, which represent an area of growing interest in drug development,” said Seiji Ogawa, professor at Kyoto University’s Graduate School of Medicine.

“The key to the success of new drug development is to identify patients who are expected to benefit from new drugs and conduct clinical trials,” said Ogawa.

Moving forward, Fujitsu and TMDU will conduct a multilayered and comprehensive analysis that combines various data including time axis and location data with the aim of accelerating medical research, including in the field of drug efficacy, as well as to shed light on the causes of cancer.

Fujitsu and TMDU will also collaborate in experimental research in the fields of drug discovery and medicine. TMDU will further use the technology developed in this research to promote research on strategies for intractable diseases such as cancer.

In addition to medical care, Fujitsu will use the new technology to resolve challenges in a variety of fields, including marketing, system operations and manufacturing.