Artificial intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing the way doctors diagnose and treat cancer, according to Dr. Thomas J. Fuchs, Dean of Artificial Intelligence and Human Health at Mount Sinai in New York City. Dr. Fuchs is also the chief scientific officer at Paige AI, a company that uses AI to detect and treat cancer. In a recent study, the company commissioned 16 pathologists to review 610 whole-slide images prepared at multiple institutions globally. They reviewed the slides once without help and then again with the help of the pathology artificial intelligence guidance engine (Paige AI). When Paige AI was used, diagnostic errors were reduced by 70%. Paige’s AI for prostate cancer, Paige Prostate Detect, is the only FDA-approved AI-powered digital pathology product, after three years of cooperation with the agency.
AI helps in the accurate diagnosis of cancer
The techniques developed by Paige AI allow the company to train directly from pathology reports to learn from images with millions of cells. As Dr. Fuchs explains, “You need data that represents reality. So, in the same way that a doctor, especially a pathologist, has to look at tens of thousands of these microscopic slides to really understand what cancer looks like and to be able to find it in patients’ tissue, in the same way, a system of AI has to look at those same slides.” The same techniques used to find and detect cancer were previously implanted on the Mars Curiosity Rover to differentiate between types of terrain, such as sand and gravel, to avoid potential mission-ending obstacles. Fuchs worked on these techniques as a technologist and AI pioneer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He also pointed out that the images captured by telescopes orbiting the solar system are the same size as slides used in modern pathology.
Impact of AI on doctors and patients
AI has been shown to be an “absolutely positive” addition to pathologists’ work and can have a significant impact on patient care by creating better tools for doctors. For example, diagnosing breast and lymph node metastases is tedious and can take a long time. “It’s like looking for needles in a haystack,” Fuchs described. Sometimes a patient will have tiny cancers and lesions of just a few cancer cells out of millions of normal cells. As for doctors, technology helps ensure an accurate diagnosis.
Pathology for a better future
In many cases, a hospital would want to sequence a patient to find out which drug works. Unfortunately, the process is often slow and expensive. Also, very few places do that kind of work regularly, and most cancer patients don’t have access to it. “One thing I always emphasize is that today patients are dying not from AI but from the lack of AI, and we will look back in just 10 or 20 years and shake our heads at the medieval ways we practice medicine because AI will change that and it has to change that,” Fuchs said. Today, globally, more data is produced in healthcare than in finance and entertainment combined. In particular, the field of healthcare pathology is by far the largest user of data. AI can help sort through this data at a much faster rate than humans.
AI has a significant impact on the medical field, especially when it comes to cancer diagnosis and treatment. The use of AI in healthcare goes much further, and it’s critical for doctors to have the right tools that can ensure accurate and timely diagnoses. User-friendly AI-powered pathology tools like Paige AI are now available, challenging the purpose of death by democratizing access to healthcare. “We need AI today, and we need AI to lessen the suffering of patients,” said Dr. Fuchs.