Delta Tissue: Integrated Platforms for Predicting Changes in Tissue State, is a $55 million effort that brings experts in the life sciences and engineering together from across universities, foundations, and the private sector to develop a platform that can profile tissue states and predict transitions between states in ways that are impossible today.
What if we could build a ‘tissue time machine’ to predict future disease progression with the fidelity needed to intervene in the present?
Infectious and noncommunicable diseases act at the levels of molecules, cells, and tissues. Indeed, many of the world’s top killers, from cancer (which takes 10 million lives a year) to tuberculosis (which takes 1.4 million a year), cause changes in molecules and cells that define how certain tissues behave in our bodies. But without an understanding of the physiological state of tissue over time, we have trouble predicting how that disease will progress on an individual patient basis. This often forces medical professionals to make treatment decisions based on population-level data alone. We might know, for example, that a certain cancer treatment is effective in 30 percent of the population, but we cannot yet know which individuals will be part of that 30 percent until we administer the drug—and wait.
Delta Tissue aims to build new platforms – multiscale, multimodal, and widely accessible – that allow us to predict how tissues will change in the future with the fidelity needed to intervene in the present – a ‘tissue time machine’.
“If successful, the Delta Tissue platform will allow medical professionals to intervene in diseases earlier and with approaches that are individually targeted, while also helping researchers understand the mechanisms that drive disease itself.”
“This will create new opportunities for intervention that could help eradicate many of the stubbornly challenging diseases around the world.”
Delta Tissue will require the integration of technologies that are typically expensive to buy and run, and require expert staff that are in short supply. A goal of the program is to fuel innovation and treatment by increasing accessibility of the platforms and tools to academic centers, start-ups, SMEs, the biopharma industry, and ultimately to clinicians and patients for diagnostic use. Critically, these tools must be demonstrably better than expert human judgment with respect to time, cost, resource requirements, and predictive value.