Breast cancer: Google artificial intelligence now used in mammograms

The giant Google has just set up a partnership with a medical technology company to use its breast cancer detection algorithm. Thanks to this artificial intelligence, the two companies hope to make access to mammograms easier around the world.

Dto detect breast cancer thanks to Google? It is now possible. On November 28, the American company announced the launch of iCAD, a medical technology who allows healthcare services around the world to detect this disease that kills every year 12,000 women in France. If iCAD already used artificial intelligence in its mammograms, it will now use the Google algorithm, which has been tested by researchers at Northwestern University (United States). “We are moving from academic research to the possibility of using our algorithm in the real world,” Greg Corrado, co-founder of the Google Brain team and principal researcher of Google’s health artificial intelligence told the Time.

A more efficient algorithm than current mammograms

Already in 2020, a study published in the journal Nature had demonstrated that artificial intelligence and algorithm used by Google in her mammograms detected breast cancer better than radiologists. When reading the images, the AI ​​recorded fewer false positives and false negatives than the doctors.

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This technology will now be marketed for the first time to 7,500 mammography sites that use iCAD. L’algorithm is not intended to replace radiologists, in any case not immediately, but could relieve the workload of the latter. Indeed, in Europe – including the United Kingdom, where the research was notably carried out – radiologists must take two readings of mammograms before deciding. iCAD is working with Ministries of Health to recognize the reading of images by theartificial intelligence as one of these two readings. In the United States, the first device with the Google algorithm should be marketed in early 2024.

Make care more accessible

Stacey Stevens, President and CEO of iCAD, hopes to make access to mammograms easier, including for the most disadvantaged. According to her, Google’s artificial intelligence will bring access to mammograms to more people around the world, especially in disadvantaged regions, who would not have the space or the necessary means for a conventional device. To store the images, the Google cloud will now be used, allowing considerable space saving: “we have the possibility of setting up in new regions of the world and developing our tools to reach a larger number of patients in areas that are currently experiencing infrastructure problems”.

the Time recalls that, as with any technology, the more data the algorithm collects, the more likely it will be to improve and become more efficient. The data of mammograms will be transmitted to artificial intelligence, without the possibility of patient identification, in order to preserve medical secrecy. But if no law currently regulates the use of these artificial intelligence, Google isn’t the only company to bring one to market, and many radiologists use these services to supplement their expertise..

Undetectable changes to the naked eye

The advantage of these artificial intelligences is that eventually, they will be able to spot changes invisible to the human eye, which would then make it possible to detect breast cancer before it is too late. According to researchers, there is a link between breast cancer and heart diseasewhich could be proven through the use of this artificial intelligence – and thus help women on both aspects.

Additionally, the researchers found risk factors specific to certain ethnic groups which are not visible to radiologists but can be detected by artificial intelligence. In the United States, researchers noticed that African-American women were more at risk of developing an aggressive form of cancer and had a mortality rate higher than others. By training artificial intelligence to detect the first signs, they could then have a better chance of being taken care of and perhaps treated earlier. Early detection would also reduce patient healthcare costswhich would also represent savings for health services.

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Breast cancer: Google artificial intelligence now used in mammograms


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