Computer-aided effective fracture risk stratification of patients with vertebral metastases for personalised treatment through robust computational models validated in clinical settings

Objectives & Vision

Project vision

To revolutionise the treatment and care of cancer patients with bone metastases, METASTRA envisions a future in which every patient receives personalised, data- and physiology-driven, and timely interventions. By integrating state-of-the-art Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Physiology-based (VPH) biomechanical computational models, our goal is to equip clinicians with accurate risk stratification tools and the most suitable surgical treatment options. Our vision is to shape a world in which patient fractures are substantially diminished, quality of life is enhanced, and healthcare resources are optimally utilised to improve the well-being of metastatic patients throughout Europe.

Project mission

At METASTRA, our mission is to address the unmet need in cancer patient care through the development of advanced AI- and VPH-based biomechanical computational models. By precisely quantifying the risk of fractures in patients with vertebral metastases, our objective is to enhance patient stratification and offer personalised surgical treatment recommendations. Our interdisciplinary approach, which involves the rigorous training of models through the integration of clinical and biomechanical data, will empower clinicians to make informed decisions using our decision support system (DSS). We are dedicated to presenting fresh guidelines for the stratification and management of metastatic patients, thereby reducing the rate of uncertain diagnoses from 60% to 20%. This commitment aims to alleviate patient suffering and contribute to an annual cost saving of 2.4 billion Euros. Through this pioneering research, METASTRA aspires to reshape the landscape of metastatic patient care and set a benchmark for optimised treatment strategies.

Main objectives

METASTRA aims to enhance the prevention of fractures in patients with vertebral metastases and provide tailored patient-specific treatment by creating robust computational models capable of reliably stratifying patients according to their fracture risk. METASTRA will offer a collection of biomechanically validated models, demonstrated within relevant clinical contexts, which will be integrated into a Decision Support System (DSS). Additionally, METASTRA will formulate a novel stratification strategy by formulating new guidelines to assist clinicians in the patient stratification process based on fracture risk. These guidelines will also aid in identifying the most suitable treatment options by employing the computational models developed and validated within the METASTRA project.

These objectives align with the primary needs of the end-users and are closely linked to the expected outcomes of the project:

  • SO1. Broaden the understanding of the circumstances leading to fractures of vertebral metastases and the mechanical consequences of metastases, with unprecedentedly rich and complete retrospective and prospective databases of fractured and non-fractured patients, and an ex vivodatasets.
  • SO2. Develop an integrated toolbox (segmentation, mechanistic models) to identify critical metastases.
  • SO3. Develop three computational models and encapsulate them into a decision support system, to support clinicians in the stratification of patients with vertebral metastases and recommended the best treatment option.
  • SO4. Pave the way for later certification of the METASTRA-DSS by regulatory bodies.
  • SO5. Draft and disseminate new guidelines for patient stratification, and for safely choosing the best patient treatment, reducing the risk of fracture, avoiding unneeded interventions, and optimising cost-effectiveness.