The power of artificial intelligence (AI) is growing.
According to an article in the New York Post, an AI program at the University of Toronto developed a potential treatment for a type of liver cancer. The university’s researchers published their study in the journal Chemical Science. The AI program, called Pharma.AI, was an AI drug discovery platform.
The advancement could lead to AI programs for other types of cancer, including malignant mesothelioma. While there are only 2,500-3,000 diagnosed cases of mesothelioma each year in the U.S., there are few effective treatment options for this cancer. The tumors spread quickly and aggressively to nearby organs in the lung cavity and abdominal cavity.
In a separate study in British Columbia, an AI program predicted cancer survival chances for more than 47,000 individual cases. Both studies are moments of progress in how the scientific community uses technology and the rise of AI.
How the AI Program Developed a Therapy
Researchers applied AlphaFold, which is an AI-powered protein structure database, to find a protein target for liver cancer. The program also developed a therapy capable of attaching to the protein, which is a targeted therapy.
According to the New York Post article, the therapy was created in just 30 days. However, the therapy must go through clinical trials before it can be used by most liver cancer patients.
“What this paper demonstrates is that for health care, AI developments are more than the sum of their parts,” Alan Aspuru-Guzik, a professor of chemistry and computer science at the University of Toronto Faculty of Arts & Science, told the New York Post. “If one uses a generative model targeting an AI-derived protein, one can substantially expand the range of diseases that we can target.”
AI Provides Prognosis to Cancer Patients
A separate study, published in the journal JAMA Network, reported that an AI system at the University of British Columbia and British Columbia Cancer was able to predict cancer life expectancy using doctors’ notes.
The program was able to predict 6-month, 3-year, and 5-year survival chances with an accuracy of more than 80%. The study used 47,625 patients. Importantly, the program was able to predict chances for individual cases based on that patient’s specific characteristics.
“The AI essentially reads the consultation document similar to how a human would read it,”Dr. John-Jose Nunez, a psychiatrist and clinical research fellow with the University of British Columbia Mood Disorders Centre, stated. “These documents have many details like the age of the patient, the type of cancer, underlying health conditions, past substance use, and family histories.”
Predicting survival chances for individual cancer cases is crucial. It can improve cancer care, dictate a treatment plan, and lead to better quality of life. All three are priorities for medical providers, patients and caregivers of mesothelioma.
“It might suggest health providers make an earlier referral to support services or offer a more aggressive treatment option upfront,” Dr. Nunez said. “Our hope is that a tool like this could be used to personalize and optimize the care a patient receives right away, giving them the best outcome possible.”
- AI develops cancer treatment in 30 days, predicts survival rate. New York Post. Retrieved from: https://nypost.com/2023/03/20/ai-develops-cancer-treatment-in-30-days-predicts-survival-rate/. Accessed: 04/09/2023.
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