Previously, Google's DeepMind development has proven to be effective in diagnosing breast cancer. And now, Google Health and the Mayo Clinic have begun to explore how they can use artificial intelligence to treat cancer with radiotherapy.
According to Google, AI can help speed up the time-consuming and tedious preparation for radiotherapy procedures. Radiotherapy is one of the most common cancer treatments, used by over half of cancer patients in the United States.
It is noted that the most time-consuming step in planning a radiotherapy treatment is a technique called target contouring. It includes segmentation of cancer-affected areas and nearby healthy tissue sensitive to radiation exposure during treatment. Healthcare providers must painstakingly draw lines around sensitive organs when scanning, a time-consuming process that can take up to 7 hours per patient.
Google Health is working with the Mayo Clinic to research and develop an artificial intelligence system that will support doctors. It will help reduce planning time and improve the effectiveness of radiotherapy. The companies intend to develop an algorithm to help medical personnel separate healthy tissues and organs from tumors. It is also planned to research how effective this will be in real-life cases. Google Health and Mayo Clinic focus on head and neck cancers, which are incredibly challenging to contour.
As part of the first phase of the joint study with the Mayo Clinic, Google Health hopes to develop and validate a model and explore how the artificial intelligence system could be deployed in practice.
Google hopes this study will help speed up the planning process for cancer treatment with radiotherapy and potentially help patients receive treatment faster.