Artificial intelligence is set to transform and revolutionise treatment plans for cancer patients, according to one of the world’s leading oncologists.
Professor Karol Sikora, former chief of the World Health Organization’s Cancer Programme, said that new software developments will ensure that the most suitable radiotherapy treatments match the specific requirements of each individual cancer patient.
“We are at an exciting dawn with AI and we are set to see a transformative effect on cancer treatment in the UK.
“The technology is key to the future of diagnostic and prime treatment analysis.
“Proton beam treatment often holds advantages over other treatments but today cancer patients are commonly placed on more traditional courses of radioactive treatment.
“This issue will soon be improved with AI used to accurately assess cancer treatment plans without the margin of human error.
Chinese tech giant Huawei announced last week that they had a achieved a true positive diagnostic rate of over 99.9 percent for cervical cancer by utilising new AI technology.
New research from the University of Pennsylvania has shown that side effects from cancer proton treatment are “significantly less” than the effects from other alternative radiation options.
Mike Moran (left), CEO of Proton Partners International.
Professor Karol Sikora (right).
“The treatment choices faced by a typical prostate cancer patient offer up a good example,” said Professor Sikora.
“Prostate is one of the most common cancers but patients are often placed on inferior treatment paths.
“We see a benefit to proton therapy treatment in approximately 20% of prostate patients because of their anatomy, particularly given the fact that traditional treatment methods can leave a patient incontinent or impotent.
“However, many patients in the UK are guided by default into traditional treatment options.
“These paths may cost less but they can leave a patient with horrendous lifetime side effects that they could have avoided.”
The global AI industry is increasingly partnering with healthcare operators.
Jose Marcos Rodríguez Fernández, CTO and founder at tech leaders Melior.AI, said:
“AI’s use within scientific and medical fields is extremely useful for unmasking some of the fears associated with the technology.
“The example of using Google’s AI technology to spot mutations in cancer cells demonstrates the great adaptability of AI technology, the usage of transfer knowledge in computer vision and how it can be adapted to different domains.”
Professor Sikora, who oversaw the first patient in the UK to undergo proton beam therapy, believes that AI will guide patients to better treatment options in the very near future.
“Personalising cancer treatment is the way forward.
“However, the rules are complex and computers can sift through the many variables much faster than even the most astute clinician.
“The role of the doctor has now become to harness the power of AI in the best way possible to achieve optimal outcomes.
“I remember 30 years ago when a computer arrived on my clinic desk at Hammersmith that this was the future.
“Then all it could do was give me lab results but now it can take central stage in optimising patient care helping me decide which drugs and what type of radiotherapy to give to which patient”
“Making clever treatment decisions can save or change a life.
“With regards to proton beam technology, both private and public treatment centres offer hope for millions of patients across the UK.
“We have seen the government invest £250m in two new national proton centres because this technology is so exciting.
“Sadly not every type of cancer patient will benefit, but thanks to new private centres opening across the UK we are going to see people with the most types of the disease – such as prostate and breast cancer – being able to have the best treatment without the risk of debilitating side effects and excruciating pain.”