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Machine learning to predict mesenchymal stem cell efficacy for cartilage repair

by Yu Yang Fredik Liu, Yin Lu, Steve Oh, Gareth J. Conduit

Inconsistent therapeutic efficacy of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) in regenerative medicine has been documented in many clinical trials. Precise prediction on the therapeutic outcome of a MSC therapy based on the patient’s conditions would provide valuable references for clinicians to decide the treatment strategies. In this article, we performed a meta-analysis on MSC therapies for cartilage repair using machine learning. A small database was generated from published in vivo and clinical studies. The unique features of our neural network model in handling missing data and calculating prediction uncertainty enabled precise prediction of post-treatment cartilage repair scores with coefficient of determination of 0.637 ± 0.005. From this model, we identified defect area percentage, defect depth percentage, implantation cell number, body weight, tissue source, and the type of cartilage damage as critical properties that significant impact cartilage repair. A dosage of 17 − 25 million MSCs was found to achieve optimal cartilage repair. Further, critical thresholds at 6% and 64% of cartilage damage in area, and 22% and 56% in depth were predicted to significantly compromise on the efficacy of MSC therapy. This study, for the first time, demonstrated machine learning of patient-specific cartilage repair post MSC therapy. This approach can be applied to identify and investigate more critical properties involved in MSC-induced cartilage repair, and adapted for other clinical indications.

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