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Thursday, May 11, 2023

AI-Powered Diagnostic Tool Predicts Pancreatic Cancer Up to 3 Years in Advance

Given how difficult pancreatic cancer can be to diagnose, the tool could be life-saving.

AI-Powered Diagnostic Tool Predicts Pancreatic Cancer Up to 3 Years in Advance

By Adrianna Nine  in Extremetech

Pancreatic cancer might be relatively rare, but it’s one of the world’s leading causes of cancer-related death. Thanks to the organ’s placement deep within the abdomen, tumors on the pancreas can be difficult to detect, forcing doctors to rely on expensive and invasive imaging or blood tests instead. If these strategies are implemented too late, a patient’s odds of successfully completing treatment are slim.

A new tool powered by artificial intelligence might make early detection easier and more accessible. Researchers from Harvard Medical School and the University of Copenhagen partnered with the VA Boston Healthcare System and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute to build a screening program that scans people’s medical records to determine their likelihood of developing pancreatic cancer. According to a paper published Tuesday in Nature Medicine, the tool can predict future pancreatic cancer diagnosis up to three years ahead with 88% accuracy.

The researchers trained an AI model on roughly 9 million patients’ health records obtained from the Danish National Patient Registry (DNPR) and the US Veterans Affairs database (US-VA). Both of these databases were used to train the model separately. Of the 6 million patients in the DNPR, 23,985 had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer; of the 3 million US-VA patients, 3,900 had received the same diagnosis. Using this data, the AI model was trained to pick up on disease codes, comorbidities, and timelines that might indicate a future pancreatic cancer diagnosis—even if the disease codes themselves had nothing to do with the pancreas. ... ' 

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