Gilead combines artificial intelligence and art to draw attention and hope to MBC

red, green, yellow and blue painting

The following article was originally published by Endpoints News. Click here to read the article on the Endpoints News website.

What if you could “see” the emotions and feelings of people living with metastatic breast cancer? That’s what Gilead Sciences’ agency VMLY&R Health did last year, using artificial intelligence and sound analytics to turn the interviews of three women living with metastatic triple-negative breast cancer into works of art.

Using the sound waves, a robotic painting device translated their stories of struggle and hope into colors, contours and brush strokes. The result? An art exhibition called “Paintings of Hope” that was first displayed at ESMO in September in Paris, but has since traveled to hospitals and medical conferences in Europe and Spain.

One of those displays was at the entrance to Spanish Parliament in October, at the same time patients and advocates were pressing the government to shorten the up to 500-day wait for new drug approvals. The Spanish Congress did eventually agree to change the maximum wait to 180 days, which is the broader European standard. Still, it wasn’t soon enough for Angela, one of the patients behind the AI art exhibit, who died while waiting for treatment.

“The goal (of the campaign) wasn’t to change the law, it was to try and make sure that metastatic breast cancer patients were seen and heard – that the hope that they felt was shown to the HCPs,” said Natxo Diaz, chief creative officer, VMLY&R Health Spain.

In patient interviews that informed the ad campaign creators, patients said they felt that by being ignored and denied newer medicines, they were being treated like “walking corpses,” Diaz said.

The AI art exhibit to date has reached more than 45,000 healthcare providers and racked up 95.4 million impressions through media, social and TV channels, VMLY&R reported. The agency is broadly introducing the work and the story behind its creation in advance of World Cancer Day on Saturday.

VMLY&R Health originally created the campaign after Gilead’s Trodelvy was authorized in Europe to treat triple negative breast cancer. The pharma wanted to raise awareness with HCPs, payers and other decision makers in Spain — and signal its serious commitment to cancer, Diaz said.

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