Google details its AI cancer detection study

This will be a huge leap in healthcare area.


Google's latest study into the use of AI-based Lymph Node Assistant (LYNA) shows how an AI might be used in real life scenarios. Revealed via Google's AI blog, the research is centered around making human pathologists to diagnose metastatic breast cancer in lymph node slides.

Google details its AI cancer detection study


If the participants are to be believed, the use of LYNA made it easier to detect the cancer cells making it easier to diagnose them. In fact, Google says it cut the review time by half for each slide used.

The latest study is a followup on the use of AI for detecting and diagnosing cancer which was reported early this year. Previously, the company showed how its DeepMind could help pathologists in terms of detecting cancer.

Google details its AI cancer detection study

The study used AI algorithms to examine gigapixel-sized pathology slides, displaying images for diagnosis containing billions of pixels. The AI was shown to be able to detect problems down to a scale of only 100 x 100 pixels. When talking about prognosis, Google showed that AI could reduce false negatives by up to 75%. The system was 99 percent accurate at detecting cancer.

However, the classification of the stages of cancer was not as accurate as expected, Google says. Studies show that in as many as a quarter of cases, the secondary review done by a pathologist showed the classifications done by the system were incorrect. The AI detects cancer accurately but isn't able to classify the stage which is a significant part of information based on which the treatment options will be chosen.


But the main motive of the study is to show how AI can benefit humanity not just in medical terms but more broadly. The conclusion of the study isn't that AI is the best at identifying cancer but could come in handy to identify cancer at an early stage.

The trend of making AI an assistant rather than a replacement for real people is widely adopted and being taken seriously. In terms of medicine, AI could open up new opportunities and allow pathologists to focus on deeper diagnostics.

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