Cancer research accelerates its progress with a key tool: artificial intelligence. It is already part of the day-to-day life of the sector and augurs a future in which digital avatars of patients make it possible to optimize and personalize treatment and its results.
General view of some of the participants at the ASCO 2023 meeting in Chicago. EFE/Marta Garde
The range of possibilities of artificial intelligence in cancer is as wide as its potential and its objective is not to limit this technology to clinical trials, drug design or diagnosis, but also to go hand in hand in that last crucial step. , that of the therapy itself.
“Artificial intelligence is the present and it will also be the future. Probably right now we are only scratching the surface of their opportunities,” he explained to EFE this Sunday. Executive Vice President of the Oncology division of the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, Dave Fredrickson.
The annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), in which he participates, reflects that medical practice can rely on artificial intelligence (AI) to improve all phases of the process: from tests and diagnosis to the prediction and selection of treatments and the detection of relapses.
The oncologist Arsela Prelaj, from the National Tumor Institute of Milanrecognized in that meeting in Chicago, the main one in the sector, that the current moment is one of transition.
“We owe a lot to how we have been able to use the mass of data so far, but we have already hit the wall. Artificial intelligence and machine learning provide the means to break it down and reconfigure our toolbox to improve its effectiveness”, he said in one of the many presentations that since last Friday and until Tuesday make Chicago the city at the epicenter of innovation. oncology.
Artificial intelligence makes it possible to get to the desired point “faster and more accurately” and ultimately facilitates better outcomes for cancer patients.
But according to Dean Ho, Director of The Institute for Digital Medicine and Head of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the National University of Singaporethere are still “years” before this technology is fully exploited to optimize and adapt the treatment throughout its entire duration.
“All people are different and one patient is different from another, but the fact is that the same patient can change as time goes by. In this case (artificial intelligence) offers the possibility of dynamically adjusting the evolution of the dosage to maintain an optimized treatment throughout the process,” he told EFE during the meeting of ASCO.
Artificial intelligence makes it possible to improve the selection of the drug and the necessary dose or to assign patients to the therapies that are most convenient for them. But the challenges are also its use in more types of cancer and greater personalization.
At this last point, their “digital avatars” come into play, alter egos of a patient who are still undergoing a clinical trial.
They do not start from “big data”, from existing macro data, but from micro data. It starts from scratch using only the patient’s own data to manage their treatment and uses biomarkers to predict the response that the patient can register.
In all these stages, technology does not minimize the need for human intervention and those who have its development in their hands also see a good selection of the data used by the algorithms as essential, to avoid predispositions that harm certain groups.
“People must be involved at every step. That is something decisive,” the biomedical engineer from Singapore, a participant in a session that wondered if artificial intelligence is a passing fad or if it is here to stay, told EFE, and in which it was unanimously agreed that it has no Date of Expiry.
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