/ 3 November 2022

A RESEARCH by the University of Santo Tomas that used “AI-based prediction of colorectal cancer using miRNA expressions” won in this year’s BPI-DOST Innovations Award.

The study was authored by BS Biology alumni Aamer Sultan, Austin de Asa, and Tesah Guimbangunan.

Their research focused on colorectal cancer, the third most diagnosed cancer globally. It aimed to find less-invasive and more cost-efficient methods for identifying it.

“The study aimed to develop artificial neural network models that could accurately detect CRC using miRNA expressions in tissue and plasma samples…by using miRNA expression profiles of formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue and plasma samples obtained from CRC patients and healthy controls,” the authors explained.

“The ANNs achieved an accuracy of 98.5% and 88.2%, a sensitivity of 90.9% and 80.4%, a specificity of 29 92.6% and 84.7%, and an area under the ROC curve of 0.92 and 0.83 for the plasma and tissue samples, respectively. Moreover, sensitivity analyses showed that miR-135b-5p and miR-92a-3p had the greatest influence in distinguishing CRC from healthy plasma and malignant from neoplasm-free colorectal tissues, respectively. However, only miR-135b-5p was significantly downregulated in both CRC plasma and malignant colorectal tissue samples,” they added.

The Thomasian alumni were advised by Professor Pia Marie S.P. Albano.

The group received a trophy and a cash prize of P100,000.

The BPI-DOST Innovation Awards aims to challenge bright Filipino students to actively participate in resolving problems in the community through science, technology, engineering and mathematics.