Above: Left: a slide containing lymph nodes. Right: LYNA identifying the tumor region.
Metastatic tumors — cancerous cells which break away from their tissue of origin, travel through the body through the circulatory or lymph systems, and form new tumors in other parts of the body — are notoriously difficult to detect. A 2009 study of 102 breast cancer patients at two Boston health centers found that one in four were affected by the “process of care” failures such as inadequate physical examinations and incomplete diagnostic tests.
That’s one of the reasons that of the half a million deaths worldwide caused by breast cancer, an estimated 90 percent are the result of metastasis. But researchers at the Naval Medical Center San Diego and Google AI, a division within Google dedicated to artificial intelligence (AI) research, have developed a promising solution employing cancer-detecting algorithms that autonomously evaluate lymph node biopsies.