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Can Artificial Intelligence Help Treat Breast Cancer?

Can Artificial Intelligence Help Treat Breast Cancer?

Oct 14, 2020

Over the years, researchers and doctors have collaborated to create new and innovative treatments for cancer, like injecting liquid tracers to improve the accuracy of tumor removal or using CAR-T cells to treat lymphoma and leukemia. One of the newest questions doctors seek to answer is whether artificial intelligence can be used to make breast cancer lumpectomies more effective.

Understanding the Limitations of Typical Lumpectomies

About 1 in 4 lumpectomies, surgeries for removing tumors from the breast, don’t extract all of the cancerous tissue the first time around.

“That, in turn, leads to a need for reoperation to avoid high recurrence rates,” said Dr. Alastair Thompson, a surgical oncologist at the Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center and co-director of the Lester and Sue Smith Breast Center at Baylor College of Medicine. “Hence the need for a good, effective, and user-friendly tool to help us better identify if we have adequately removed the breast cancer from a woman’s breast, to get it right the first time.”

What Is the ATLAS AI Project?

The ATLAS AI Project is a study in combination with Perimeter Medical Imaging and medical institutions across the country. Researchers seek to gather images of breast tumors from 400 patients to essentially train an AI system to recognize tumors and their margins against healthy breast tissue. Breast cancer patients seeking treatment at the Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center may be eligible to participate.

How Artificial Intelligence Can Make Breast Surgery More Accurate

Perimeter’s ImgAssist algorithm is combined with their OTIS Optical Tissue Imaging Console. Surgeons performing a lumpectomy will be able to scan tumors using the console. This intelligent system should then be able to accurately detect the margins of the tumor, allowing surgeons to preserve as much healthy tissue as possible while removing all of the cancer cells. The more images of tumors that this algorithm can learn from, the more accurate it will become at detecting tumor tissue in real time during surgery.

“This technique is non-invasive and requires no extra imposition for the patient. OTIS fits into the routine surgical process,” said Dr. Thompson. “The device will examine the tissue sample that is already being extracted.”

For information on this study and the latest innovations in cancer treatment, schedule an appointment with your St. Luke’s Health oncologist.

Nationally ranked Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center provides the highest possible level of care as the clinical home for the Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center at Baylor College of Medicine, one of only three NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in Texas.

Baylor College of Medicine | Researchers enrolling patients for study to train AI in assisting breast cancer surgery

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