Scientists Team Up With AI To Develop Treatment For Childhood Brain Cancer

Scientists in the UK have used artificial intelligence (AI) to come up with a treatment for children suffering from a rare form of brain cancer.

Computer scientists and cancer specialists in the UK have used artificial intelligence (AI) to come up with an effective treatment for children suffering from a “rare and aggressive” form of brain cancer. Artificial intelligence is being widely used for a variety of applications, including cybersecurity, machine translation, farming, manufacturing, fighting online disinformation, improving the safety and efficiency of rail and air traffic, and more.

AI is also being extensively used in the healthcare industry to crunch data and discover patterns that could help better diagnose diseases and lead to the discoveries of new medical therapies. However, even though the positive aspects of AI are becoming more evident with every passing day, public opinion on the technology remains divided, with most people wanting stringent regulation to ensure algorithms are not used in a way that could be detrimental to people’s privacy and freedom.

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The new research on pediatric brain cancer comes from scientists, doctors, and data analysts at The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) in London and the results have been published in the journal Cancer Discovery. According to the report, researchers at the ICR and the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust used AI to come up with a treatment regimen to treat children suffering from a rare and deadly type of brain cancer called Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG). The report further states that the two drugs being tested for the treatment are Everolimus and Vandetanib, which could be used in tandem to improve the survival rate in patients.

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The initial tests have revealed that the AI-powered treatment has improved survival rates in mice by 14% and is currently being tested in children. Going forward, the researchers hope to launch much larger clinical trials with many more kids. Researchers have termed the discovery as “exciting,” saying it has the potential to become “one of the first examples of a treatment proposed by AI going on to benefit patients.” According to them, survival rates for the deadly disease have not improved over the past 50 years, but the new AI-powered therapy has the potential to change that for the better.

DIPG remains a deadly disease because removing the tumors surgically is often extremely difficult. However, the AI algorithm crunched the available data on the two aforementioned drugs and found that Everolimus could enhance Vandetanib’s effectiveness by helping it “sneak past the blood-brain barrier,” according to Chris Jones, professor of pediatric brain tumor biology at the ICR. It remains to be seen how the larger clinical trials go, but if successful, the new therapy could bring a paradigm shift in treatment for children suffering from DIPG.

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Source: The Guardian

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