From Information to Wisdom: Advanced Data Solutions for Chronic Immune-Mediated Diseases

By Daniel Nguyen

July 10, 2024


As partners in the EU-funded WISDOM project, Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (FIMM) at the University of Helsinki and VEIL.AI will collaborate to design a novel data framework and new data protection and analysis solutions, enabling development of better treatment and diagnosis of patients with chronic immune-mediated diseases.

Multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and myasthenia gravis are three autoimmune diseases, in which the body’s own systems attack the nerve sheaths, joints, and neuromuscular junctions in the body. While they affect tens of millions  of people worldwide with chronic, progressive inflammation, treatment is often hampered by delayed diagnosis, lack of clear choices in therapy once diagnosis has been reached, and lack of information about appropriate alternative therapies following an adverse reaction or lack of response. 

The EU-funded Horizon Europe WISDOM project aims to improve the treatment and diagnosis of patients by developing novel AI-based tools to provide early diagnosis and predict the progression of chronic immune-mediated diseases. In order to access the volume of good-quality data needed to create such AI-based tools, fourteen  partners consisting of academic, industry, and patient advocacy groups from all over Europe have formed the WISDOM consortium.

The Finnish WISDOM partners, the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (FIMM) at the University of Helsinki and VEIL.AI,  a deep-tech spin-out from University of Helsinki, will work together to create a novel data architecture and data protection and analysis solutions to enable privacy-preserving access to sensitive health data of chronic immune-mediated disease patients.

FIMM Research Director Janna Saarela is leading the Data management, integration and access work package of WISDOM. The work will build on an earlier EU project, MultipleMS, which built the world’s largest harmonized and centralized data resource of MS disease combining omics, lifestyle, imaging and clinical data. In addition, FIMM is contributing to the project activities that focus on developing disease-risk stratification, disease-outcome prediction and personalized intervention tools. 

VEIL.AI is an industry leader in privacy enhancing technologies. Their next-generation anonymization solution utilizes machine learning to find the optimal anonymization solution, such that the anonymized data captures the statistical characteristics of the original data while preserving the privacy of the individuals participating in the study. This makes their technology a key solution for access to the data enabling the development of AI-based diagnostic and prognostic tools for immune-mediated diseases.

“A key challenge of the WISDOM project is the efficient re-use of the existing clinical registry and research data. With the EHDS legislation coming up, ensuring the privacy and safety of sensitive health data while enabling its sharing and analysis is a major concern”, says Timo Miettinen, Chief Technology Officer at VEIL.AI.

“This is where VEIL.AI’s next generation anonymization technology plays a critical role. The integration of VEIL.AI’s anonymization solutions ensures that sensitive health data can be utilized effectively while remaining compliant with privacy regulations like GDPR and EHDS. Our ultimate objective is to enhance the treatment and monitoring of CIMDs across Europe.” 

With expertise in biomedicine and a blossoming innovation ecosystem, Finland is a leading player in cross-border research and data collaboration. FIMM and VEIL.AI are complementary partners in the WISDOM consortium, enabling the cutting-edge development of AI tools that meet a real clinical need.

 “Anonymization and VEIL.AI’s technology has a critical role in this project. Except for the research-consent based MS disease data, most of the research, clinical and population-based datasets planned for AI model development and validation cannot be accessed without novel privacy protection technologies,” says Janna Saarela.

With the 9.5 M€ EU funding and the project kick-off this month, progress toward the goal to improve the lives of patients with immune-mediated diseases is underway. We look forward to seeing the novel tools and cutting-edge research that the consortium will produce!

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