Stelvio Oncology Takes on Cancer

Today’s Popping the Bubbl episode features Attila Hajdu. Attila is the CEO of Stelvio Oncology, a company seeking to beat brain cancer by leveraging machine learning to create personalized standards of care against glioblastoma.

Stelvio Oncology is partnered with IndieBio, a science-based start-up accelerator in San Francisco California. The work being done at IndieBio is changing everything about our future. Sandra and I have completed a series of interviews featuring founders like Hajdu. Sandra and I were astonished at the impact these entrepreneurs are about to have on all our lives.

At any given time, there are about 200k people suffering from glioblastoma. Over the past 40 years there has been little advancement in glioblastoma standards of care. When a doctor says, “It’s glioblastoma, brain cancer” the average patient is dead within a year and 98% are gone in three.

…here’s what Stelvio does about that.

The Stelvio website explains, “The biggest problem in cancer remains drug resistance and loss of response to treatment which ultimately leads to no viable alternatives for patients. We are targeting cancer stem cell fates which have resistance mechanisms.” By leveraging machine learning. Stelvio is finding the best path to beating cancer—better than that—they are finding the best path for each person.

The ability of Stelvio Oncology to parse tens of billions of potential treatment combinations from existing drugs and cell profiles unlocks previously undiscoverable protocols for treatment. This is industry toppling work.

From an initial analysis of 1,200 compounds, Stelvio’s analysis identified two potential game changing glioblastoma treatments. Assuming the two treatments prove to be viable; Stelvio is still doing the validation work, a big pharma company like GSK with over 10 billion combinations has access to over 16 million possible treatments.

If we want to peek at the higher-level science, Attila explains, “…That’s our sweet spot, we have the ability to use the entopic screening with epigenetic marks which incorporates machine learning, we’re the only ones (sic) dong this.”

Attila and his crew are working on the best way to “paint the nucleus,” which focuses on about 50 different epigenetic marks, all based off either open or closed chromatin. The chromatin can be labeled, which in effect paints the nucleus and promotes a designed change at the cellular level. The machines take a multi-dimensional (50+) situation and crunches that into a solution that is applicable in our 3d world—WOW. Seriously, dig in to the show and listen to Attila break down this concept.

Attila’s company is creating access to previously unavailable precision medicine which reduces toxicity and improves efficacy. They are not only beating glioblastoma, they’re creating a much more elegant and tolerable means of winning.

This means instead of the traditional standards of care for cancer: radiation, chemotherapy or surgery, we’re talking must less invasive treatments. Stelvio Oncology is changing a terminal diagnosis to one of something better than mere survival. But wait, there’s more…

Stelvio’s work in this part of the lab will undoubtedly unlock other elegant treatments for other cancers. In the future, maybe treatment for a variety of autoimmune diseases.

When we examine what is coming in the world of technology and medicine, understand that incredibly talented and passionate people are pushing the pace for a world where beating cancer is as simple as a small number of subcutaneous injections.

Better, when the doctor says to your Mom, it’s “Glioblastoma,” instead of death, your doctor smiles and says, “You’re gonna be fine.”


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