Clinicians and technology experts gathered in Waterford in February to launch the FAITH project. FAITH is an EU-funded research project which aims to provide intelligent post-cancer support by predicting negative trends in the mental health of cancer patients that have undergone therapy, and to achieve this through the integration of AI without compromising on the privacy of a patient’s data.

People with cancer are four times more likely to take their own lives than people without the disease, with depression being one of the most common comorbidities in cancer patients. Overall, they are at an increased risk of mortality in comparison with non-depressed patients. In fact, too often the symptoms of depression go unnoticed or clinicians dismiss them as being general symptoms of cancer. Until their depression is eventually diagnosed and treated, these people have experienced tremendous suffering and greatly reduced quality of life.

In order to help increase the quality of life of cancer patients, the European Commission funded the FAITH project. “FAITH” stands for “Federated Artificial Intelligence solution for moniToring mental Health status after cancer treatment”. Kicked off in January 2020, the project aims to build an ‘AI Angel’ that will remotely analyse depression markers. As a result, it will predict negative trends in patients’ disease trajectory.

FAITH will monitor data sources such as a patient’s activity, outlook, sleep, appetite and voice tone. Additionally, the FAITH monitoring system will glean more data by asking patients a series of questions. The patients’ mobile phone will record all the data via an ‘Angel App’. This app will prompt them for specific information using an NLP interface, allowing them to engage in as natural a manner as possible using a voice interface. In addition to this, FAITH will require only one extra device to monitor sleep. By using Federated Machine Learning, we will deliver personalised AI models directly to each patient’s device, therefore eliminating the requirement for data to be sent to the Cloud for processing.

Meet the team

FAITH brings together key partners from 5 European countries (Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Italy and Cyprus) into a solid team. Together, they can realize the full vision of supporting patients with depression undergoing cancer treatment.

As a consortium, we have first of all the domain expertise from Cancer Hospitals and their consultants: Champalimaud, SERMAS and UPMC. Then, the technology and data expertise through our Research Institutes: WIT, Uninova and UPM. And finally, business experience through SMEs: Deep Blue, Suite5 and TFC Research and Innovation Limited. Our expertise will allow FAITH defining the use cases and gathering of data sets, defining the ICT infrastructures to process the data, data and privacy protection, as well as Federated AI to enable data privacy preservation.

All the Consortium partners gathered in Waterford in February to launch FAITH. During the kick-off meeting, it quickly became clear that the FAITH concept has a strong connection to the participants. There is a high sense of a team, with each member individually vested in this project. Therefore, the kick-off session was one of energy, passion and bonding with a shared sense of commitment and enthusiasm for pushing boundaries towards strong results. We look forward to seeing what the next three years may bring.