Cancer treatment and diagnosis are no longer lacking in new age technologies such as analytics, artificial intelligence and neural networks, among others. They have been significantly explored in different avenues of cancer care, especially in understanding the disease mechanism. Amongst the various types of cancer, the treatment for pancreatic cancer, which is one of the leading causes of deaths across the globe, is slowly drifting towards analytics.
Numbers suggest that 53,670 people are diagnosed each year with pancreatic cancer and they have a survival rate of only eight percent. Currently there are no effective screening tools available to diagnose pancreatic cancer at early stages and therefore the adoption AI and analytics is timely.
Henry Ford Cancer Institute Is Going AI And Data Analytics Way
After a recent announcement by the Henry Ford Health System that it would spend $20 million to launch the Henry Ford Pancreatic Cancer Center, it has been looked upon as a hope to bring new methods for early detection of pancreatic cancer. They aim to establish partnership between Henry Ford and leading national and international organisations to identify the means to detect pancreatic cancer at an early stage.
The team at Henry Ford believes that though there have been incredible advances in cancer treatment and diagnosis, one of the challenges is that pancreatic cancer is often diagnosed at advanced stages, making it difficult to treat.
With this fresh development, the center aims to focus on expanding the number of identified biomarkers in pancreatic cancer that can be validated in patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, treating these biomarkers to screening test, use artificial intelligence to analyze clinical medical records and radiologic studies to identify previously unidentified patterns, and developing investigator initiated clinical trials to advance pancreatic cancer treatment.
Apart from the focus on AI, it also aims at developing a global consortium to drive research initiatives with a focus on early detection, data analytics, translational research, precision medicine, and clinical trials.
The use of cutting-edge technology is aimed at analysing large volumes of medical records, improving the efficiency of detection, quality of treatment and cost, among others.
Other Developments In Pancreatic Cancer Treatment
Microsoft Used Analytics To Find Clues In Search Queries
Microsoft made headlines when they announced that they could find cancer clues in search queries. In a paper published by Microsoft researchers Eric Horvitz and Ryen White, along with former Microsoft intern and Columbia University doctoral candidate John Paparrizos, they detailed on how they used anonymised Bing search logs to identify people whose queries suggested that they had recently been diagnosed with or dealing with pancreatic cancer.
Researchers in this proof of concept method, found that queries entered to seek answers about that set of symptoms can serve as an early warning for the onset of illness. The researchers said that finding signals about patterns of queries in search log could predict future appearances of queries that are highly suggestive of a diagnosis of pancreatic adenocarcinoma. They claimed to have identified 5 to 15 percent of cases with extremely low false positive rates (as low as 1 in 1,00,000).
Despite achieving success in the study, researchers had said that Microsoft has no plans of developing any products linked to the discovery. Instead they invited the medical community to develop screening methodology based on their study. Use of suitable algorithms could detect a pattern of search queries signalling a health concern.
MSK Partnered With Philips To Use Its Intelligent Platform
Early last year, Philips announced a partnership with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK), where it could use Philips’ IntelliSpace Genomics platform to develop genome analysis methods and informatics approaches for diagnosing pancreatic cancer and aiding personalised therapeutics. The collaboration that involves large scale next generation sequencing would generate new insights into the root cause of pancreatic cancer at a single cell level. This was to ensure precious diagnosis and hence prescribing optimum treatments that could target the cause of the disease.
Leveraging advanced capabilities of the Philips IntelliSpace Genomics solution, researchers aimed at generating new insights, developments, optimal treatment and share these insights with care providers to improve outcomes for patients.
Pharma Companies Like BERG Are Using AI In Drug Development
Another interesting development in the area of developing analytics-based treatment and solutions is by BERG, a clinical stage company that is re-defining the approach to drug discovery through its Interrogative Biology platform. As the company states, the unique platform identifies therapies and biomarkers by applying the algorithm and probability-based artificial intelligence to analyse large numbers of patients’ genotypic, phenotypic and other characteristics.
With numerous cancer care developments on their way, analytics and AI have certainly added to the success rate in the overall care. As we expect more innovations in this area, these new age technologies are destined to play a crucial role in all forms of cancer care, including pancreatic cancer.
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Srishti currently works as Associate Editor at Analytics India Magazine. When not covering the analytics news, editing and writing articles, she could be found reading or capturing thoughts into pictures.