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How AI Helps Make Breast Cancer History – TechCrunch




For the past 40 years, every October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month has helped increase visibility into the most prevalent cancers on the planet. It kills about three-quarters of people each year.

Despite recorded cases dating back to ancient Egypt, breast cancer has been considered an “indescribable” condition for thousands of years. Women were expected to suffer from silence and “dignity.”

This stigma fueled academic ignorance, and breast cancer was declining as a relatively unstudied disease only decades ago. For most of the last century, women suffering from breast cancer have been treated with radiation therapy and / or surgery (often radical surgery, often left injured for most benefit) while other cancers are being treated. ) Was provided.

Breast cancer mortality changed little from the 1930s to the 1970s, but the collaborative efforts of feminists and women’s liberation groups have made breast cancer research and treatment legitimate in male-centric hospitals and institutions. It was pulled up to the position. Treatment has changed over generations.

In the 1970s, women diagnosed with breast cancer had an approximately 40% chance of surviving the next 10 years. Today, the odds are almost doubled, thanks to new drugs, state-of-the-art screening methods, and more delicate and effective surgery.

The key to this transformation is the focus on early diagnosis. The earlier breast cancer is detected, the easier it is to treat. Artificial intelligence is playing an increasingly important role in identifying breast cancer.This year, the United Kingdom National Health Service (NHS) announced Research How AI can screen for breast cancer. It aims to build up rather than replace human doctors, which helps alleviate the shortage of radiologists — Another 2,000 Required to clear the NHS backlog with scans caused by pandemics.

Startups are also using AI to address this shortfall.Britain Kheiron Medical Technologies We plan to use AI to screen 500,000 women for breast cancer.Spanish Blue box Is developing a device that can detect breast cancer in urine samples.India Niramai Is working on low-cost tools that can help screen a large number of women in rural and suburban areas.

However, equally important for improving outcomes is identifying patients at high risk of recurrence. Approximately 1 in 10 breast cancer patients will relapse after the first treatment, reducing their chances of survival.

Identifying them early has historically been difficult, but in collaboration with the French cancer hospital Gustave Roussy, we have developed an AI tool that can find 8 out of 10 patients at high risk of recurrence. Did. AI helps patients get the treatment they need early, while protecting low-risk patients from frequent and anxious tests. Meanwhile, pharmaceutical companies are accelerating breast cancer trials by recruiting high-risk patients sooner.

Patient data privacy can be an understandable obstacle to expedited research. Hospitals are cautious about sending data offsite, and pharmaceutical companies do not want to share valuable data with their competitors. However, AI is helping to solve these problems, enabling faster, safer, and cheaper development of new therapies.

Federated learningIs a new form of AI that trains data from multiple institutions without leaving the hospital and is used throughout Europe to give researchers access to important but previously inaccessible data.

It also uses AI to better understand why the most aggressive forms of breast cancer are resistant to certain drugs and help develop new tailored drugs that distinguish healthy and tumor cells from chemotherapy. To do.

While AI is becoming more influential, it is equally important to recognize that health care is essentially a human effort to improve outcomes. There is no algorithm to comfort the patient in the darkest moments, and no machine to instill and stimulate the resilience that every patient needs to overcome the disease.

I and all other doctors know that treating an illness is not only understanding the patient’s suffering, but also understanding the patient.Clinician empathy Is related to Motivates patients to continue higher patient satisfaction and lower distress, difficult courses of treatment. Thankfully, AI technology, which is increasingly supporting the treatment of breast cancer, is designed to empower and empower doctors.

Breast cancer is no longer “indescribable” for the millions of people diagnosed each year. The sea of ​​pink ribbons that marks the beginning of October shows how far we have gone into the fight against one of our oldest enemies, the one we are currently defeated. Breast cancer may never be completely eradicated. However, AI can help patients diagnose early and enable rapid development of treatments, which may eliminate the need for Breast Cancer Awareness Month in decades.




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