Phenomix, at present, has the expertise for supporting research and development programs for pharma or IVD industries. This support includes the basic technologies, the specific methodologies, the quality control strategies and the interpretation tools.
Expert systems for the support of medical diagnosis remains in the aims of Phenomix that is also involved in other activities:
Phenomix has recently developed the new version of Allergenius, the expert system that was firstly published in 2014.
The first version of Allergenius was built for the interpretation of ImmunoCAP ISAC, the Thermofisher allergens microarray containing 112 components, that significantly improved the Molecular Based Allergy Diagnostics (MAD) more than 10 years ago. When in 2017, MADx, an Austrian company, developed ALEX, Phenomix developed the Allergenius version for ALEX.
ALEX is characterized by the presence of 282 allergens (of which, 157 are allergen extracts and 125 are molecular components) and it is suitable for the description of an extended IgE profile, including inhalants, food, hymenoptera venoms and latex. ALEX excellent features have been recently validated in real life (Heffler et al, WAOJ, 2018).
The presence of both allergens and relevant component onto the same chip allows for example, the immediate identification of genuine sensitizations and of the presence of IgE specific for potentially dangerous components. By the use of specific algorithm, Allergenius suggests the use of specific Allergen ImmunoTherapy (AIT, the so called vaccine for allergies) on the basis of the patient’s IgE profile.
A molecular allergy diagnosis based on microarray technology may sometimes be a complex task due to the large number of results available, the relationships between the components and the rules that govern virtually every single component. For this reason, a computer-assisted tool based on data from the literature, international guidelines and experts’ opinion may play a significant role, particularly in countries where these molecular tools are only recently available.
"Expert systems are a part of the artificial intelligence (AI) world; however, because they belong to the knowledge-based systems, ESs are not considered auto-learning tools. They are intended to act as human experts consulted to obtain advice, suggestions and recommendations on problems that fall within the experts’ knowledge. Thus, during the development of an ES, the external consultants indicate both the objects that are involved and the rules that govern these objects."
The strengths of this approach are numerous. In general, ESs are characterized by:
As Allergenius is an ES written by MDs for MDs, special attention was given to the construction of the report. For example, the above-mentioned level of detail can be defined by the user. Thus, experts will not be obliged to read that Der p 1 is a cysteine protease or that Dermatophagoides pt. belongs to the Pyroglyphidae family, and novices will not be confused by too much data. If needed, further information is available using a dedicated hypertext link.