Saturday August 18, 2018

Researchers Develop AI That Can Help Make Cancer Treatment Less Toxic

The new "self-learning" machine-learning technique could make the dosing regimen less toxic but still effective

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Cancer
Indian-American researchers unleash turmeric's power to fight cancer. Pixabay
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MIT researchers, including one of Indian-origin, have developed novel machine-learning techniques to improve the quality of life for patients by reducing toxic chemotherapy and radiotherapy dosing for an aggressive form of brain cancer.

Glioblastoma is a malignant tumour that appears in the brain or spinal cord, and the prognosis for adults is no more than five years.

Patients are generally administered maximum safe drug doses to shrink the tumour as much as possible, but they still remain at risk of debilitating side effects.

The new “self-learning” machine-learning technique could make the dosing regimen less toxic but still effective.

It looks at the treatment regimen currently in use, and finds an optimal treatment plan, with the lowest possible potency and frequency of doses that should still reduce tumour sizes to a degree comparable to that of traditional regimen, the researchers said.

“We kept the goal where we have to help patients by reducing tumour sizes but, at the same time, we want to make sure the quality of life — the dosing toxicity — doesn’t lead to overwhelming sickness and harmful side effects,” said Pratik Shah, principal investigator from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston, US.

Cancer
Representational image. Pixabay

The findings will be presented at the 2018 Machine Learning for Healthcare conference at Stanford University in California, US.

In simulated trials of 50 patients, the model comprising of artificially intelligent “agents”, designed treatment cycles that reduced the potency to a quarter or half of nearly all the doses while maintaining the same tumour-shrinking potential.

Many times, it skipped doses altogether, scheduling administrations only twice a year instead of monthly.

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However, the researchers also had to make sure the model does not just dish out a maximum number and potency of doses. Whenever the model chooses to administer all full doses, it gets penalized, so instead it chooses fewer, smaller doses.

“If all we want to do is reduce the mean tumour diameter, and let it take whatever actions it wants, it will administer drugs irresponsibly,” Shah said.

“Instead, we need to reduce the harmful actions it takes to get to that outcome.” (IANS)

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New AI Model to Identify the Risk of Heart Disease in Indians

Besides Apollo, Microsoft is also planning to extend the AI model to other healthcare providers

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heart disease
Novel Microsoft-Apollo AI model to predict heart disease risk for Indians. Pixabay

In a novel effort to predict the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) among the Indian population, Microsoft India and Apollo Hospitals on Friday launched the first-ever Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered heart disease risk score API (application programme interface).

Part of Microsoft’s “AI Network for Healthcare” initiative, it will help doctors across the Apollo network of hospitals leverage the AI-powered API to predict risk of CVD and drive preventive cardiac care across the country.

Nearly three million heart attacks happen in India every year and 30 million Indians suffer from coronary diseases. However, even with various heart disease risk models available worldwide, doctors and cardiologists are unable to identify the probability of CVD in Indians.

“The AI-based models available worldwide were formed decades ago and are based on the western population. Our new API score is based on the data of 4,000 Indians shared by Apollo Hospitals and can easily identify the level of risk each patient has,” Anil Bhansali, Managing Director, Microsoft India (R&D), told IANS.

“We come in as a technology partner or expert in the AI domain, where we collaborate with healthcare providers and doctors to integrate data to help build the AI model,” Bhansali added.

Built on Microsoft’s Cloud computing platform Azure, the new AI-based heart risk score helps gauge a patient’s risk for heart disease and provides rich insights to doctors on treatment plans and early diagnosis.

The API score considers 21 risk factors including lifestyle attributes such as diet, tobacco and smoking preferences and physical activity as well as psychological stress and anxiety as reflected via rate of respiration, hypertension and systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

“The score categorises risk into high, moderate and minimal and also provides insights on the top modifiable risk contributors, thereby assisting physicians to consult patients in a more holistic way, while providing insights to patients for lifestyle modification and timely interventions,” Bhansali elaborated.

heart disease
Representational image. (IANS)

When a patient goes for a cardio health check, the doctor can build up a more accurate cardio-vascular health profile of the patient based on Machine Learning (ML) of all their previous patient data.

AI can, in turn, predict future coronary ailments the patient might experience in the next 10 to 20 years based on these multiple factors.

“This heart risk score for Indian populace is a true example of how precision healthcare can accelerate prevention of cardio-vascular disease and reduce disease burden,” Bhansali noted.

According to Sangita Reddy, Joint Managing Director, Apollo Hospitals, the partnership is aimed at designing new tools and equip doctors in the fight against non-communicable diseases.

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“The amalgamation of AI and ML with the global expertise of our doctors will help prevent heart disease, save lives and ensure those with heart disease can make informed choices on their health,” Reddy said in a statement.

Besides Apollo, Microsoft is also planning to extend the AI model to other healthcare providers.

“While we are currently working with Apollo, we are also in the process of identifying partners where we can actually try this API score,” Bhansali told IANS.

“In the last couple of years we have been working on how Cloud technology, particularly AI, can help in reducing the overall disease burden. Our first step towards this, as part of the healthcare partnership, is developing the cardiac risk score for Indian population,” Bhansali added. (IANS)