…says negotiation more effective in recovering state assetsReports suggested that the State Asset Recovery Agency (SARA) has taken steps to recover assets through negotiation. According to one political analyst, this is something that should have been done a long time ago.In an interview with Guyana Times, Political Analyst and former Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr Henry Jeffrey noted that this is something done around the world when countries try to recover state assets.He noted that investigators may have put the proverbial cart before the horse by arresting persons and approaching the courts without putting effort into negotiation and reaching a settlement.The political analyst pointed to the benefits of going to persons with a figure and negotiating payments to recover the value of the asset, versus going to the courts and possibly getting nothing.“(Only) when the people say no, they’re not paying. But that was political grandstanding. Now they gone back to the very thing they should have done in the first (place). Why you (have to) carry people in front of station, drag them here, drag them there, for something you have now gone back to the very same thing you should have done.”Dr Jeffrey noted that such prosecutions can take years in order to build credible cases. He noted that many countries go the route of reaching out of court settlements, in a way that ensures the state is still reimbursed.“There are examples and precedents all around the world, showing it takes years. Plus you have to get the best people… (SARA) is there to try to get back the nation’s funds. Well that’s what they should do in the first place.”“That should have been the first move, instead of dragging people around and in the end, return to the same (approach) to tell them to pay. Now if they don’t want pay that’s a different matter. But it was political grandstanding.”SARA Director Professor Clive Thomas was quoted saying in sections of the media on Sunday that some persons who were sold land at the Pradoville Two Housing Scheme had chosen to settle with the agency.He had noted that the State Assets Recovery Bill provides for them to negotiate settlements. In addition, Jeffrey revealed that the Police Legal Advisor, retired Justice Claudette Singh had recommended this approach.Recently, audit firm Ram and McRae called for SARA to be scrapped altogether, in its ‘budget focus’ published review of budget 2019. The firm had listed some qualms with SARA, including the agency’s failure to have its annual plan and Code of Practise tabled in the National Assembly.Pointing out that the $285 million the agency is set to receive in 2019 is an increase from last year’s amount, Ram and McRae was critical of this lapse. Also, the firm had been of the view that SARA has failed to live up to its expectations of recovering assets.SARA Deputy Director Aubrey Heath-Retmeyer has previously defended his agency’s performance by noting that 2018 will make the agency’s first full budgetary year. He had said the agency is still in its infancy stages.
Source:https://www.gustaveroussy.fr/ Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Aug 27 2018A study published in The Lancet Oncology establishes for the first time that artificial intelligence can process medical images to extract biological and clinical information. By designing an algorithm and developing it to analyze CT scan images, medical researchers at Gustave Roussy, CentraleSupélec, Inserm, Paris-Sud University and TheraPanacea (spin-off from CentraleSupélec specializing in artificial intelligence in oncology-radiotherapy and precision medicine) have created a so-called radiomic signature. This signature defines the level of lymphocyte infiltration of a tumor and provides a predictive score for the efficacy of immunotherapy in the patient.In the future, physicians might thus be able to use imaging to identify biological phenomena in a tumor located in any part of the body without having to perform a biopsy.Up to now, no marker can accurately identify those patients who will respond to anti-PD-1/PD-L1 immunotherapy in a situation where only 15 to 30% of patients do respond to such treatment. It is known that the richer the tumor environment is immunologically (presence of lymphocytes) the greater the chance that immunotherapy will be effective, so the researchers have tried to characterize this environment using imaging and correlate this with the patients’ clinical response. Such is the objective of the radiomic signature designed and validated in the study published in The Lancet Oncology.In this retrospective study, the radiomic signature was captured, developed and validated in 500 patients with solid tumors (all sites) from four independent cohorts. It was validated genomically, histologically and clinically, making it particularly robust.Using an approach based on machine learning, the team first taught the algorithm to use relevant information extracted from CT scans of patients participating in the MOSCATO study, which also held tumor genome data. Thus, based solely on images, the algorithm learned to predict what the genome might have revealed about the tumor immune infiltrate, in particular with respect to the presence of cytotoxic T-lymphocytes (CD8) in the tumor, and it established a radiomic signature.Related StoriesAI technique helps produce high quality CT images at lower dosagesUsing artificial intelligence to identify socially isolated prostate cancer patientsMachine learning identifies bugs that spread Chagas diseaseThis signature was tested and validated in other cohorts including that of TCGA (The Cancer Genome Atlas) thus showing that imaging could predict a biological phenomenon, providing an estimation of the degree of immune infiltration of a tumor.Then, to test the applicability of this signature in a real situation and correlate it to the efficacy of immunotherapy, it was evaluated using CT scans performed before the start of treatment in patients participating in 5 phase I trials of anti-PD-1/PD-L1 immunotherapy. It was found that the patients in whom immunotherapy was effective at 3 and 6 months had higher radiomic scores as did those with better overall survival.The next clinical study will assess the signature both retrospectively and prospectively, will use larger numbers of patients and will stratify them according to cancer type in order to refine the signature.This will also employ more sophisticated automatic learning and artificial intelligence algorithms to predict patient response to immunotherapy. To that end, the researchers are intending to integrate data from imaging, molecular biology and tissue analysis. This is the objective of the collaboration between Gustave Roussy, Inserm, Université Paris-Sud, CentraleSupélec and TheraPanacea to identify those patients who are the most likely to respond to treatment, thus improving the efficacy/cost ratio of the treatment.