With cancer research gaining grounds and breaking milestones each day, several companies are now contributing to fast track the initiative to find a viable cure for the Big C.
Together with skilled medical practitioners and experts on the field, tech-based companies like Microsoft are slowly making their presence felt to once and for all, stand against the long standing battle against cancer. Their latest venture is with the use of an Artificial Intelligence (AI) – based health care plan called Hanover. According to the company, their team is working to “solve” cancer, and that it will, among others, deploy machine learning techniques to do tasks such as identifying tumors and generating new medical regimes.
A group of researchers based at the Knight Cancer Institute of Oregon Health and Science University are currently working with Hanover architect Hoifung Poon and to use it to find new and effective drug combinations to combat myeloid leukemia. Also at the helm are Knight Cancer Institute director Brian Druker and Jeff Tyner.
Another Microsoft project aims to reconstruct a detailed simulation on how cancer develops in different parts of the human body, while one seemingly “ambiguous project” – they call it their “moonshot” effort – wants to create biological and programmable cells. Both are, for now, sounds like a cut scene from a science fiction movie, which is why Microsoft hasn’t disclosed much information about it.
But Microsoft isn’t done yet: another peg in the ongoing battle is their vision to allocate AI to radiology. In simple terms, they envision “machine vision tools” to act as analyzers and check CT scan results for potential cancer growth. This is akin to what Google’s DeepMind is currently working on at the University College Hospital.
On the other hand, a medically inclined AI is tangible. Technology offers a vast array of possibilities not only in the field of medicine, but almost particularly everywhere: communication, transport, education, you name it; it breaks barriers, sometimes bulldozing obstacles to reach what we want. To dream of a machine that would help doctors narrow down their study to find the right drug by mechanically sifting through tons of paperwork would simply mean cutting their research time in half. What would have taken months, probably years, will now be only a matter of weeks, even days, provided that it all goes well.
While this is all good news for us, Microsoft, Google, and the rest of the playing field will also be looking to address the apparent stumbling blocks. One will be insurance companies, who can sometimes be very picky, especially when it comes to new breakthroughs in healthcare. Another is the finding of candidates: once everything is in place, medical doctors and researchers need to find suitable candidates to test their hypothesis and to prove that once and for all, humans and machine can work together to end cancer.