Tuesday, May 22, 2018

How AI Could Spot a Silent Cancer in Time to Save Lives

It’s no wonder Dr. Elliot Fishman sounds frustrated when he talks about pancreatic cancer. As a diagnostic radiologist at Johns Hopkins Hospital, one of the world’s largest centers for pancreatic cancer treatment, he has the grim task of examining pancreatic CT scans for signs of a disease that’s usually too advanced to treat. Because symptoms seldom show up in the early stages of pancreatic cancer, most patients don’t get CT scans or other tests until the cancer has spread. By then, the odds of survival are low: Just 7 percent of patients live five years after diagnosis, the lowest rate for any cancer.

Fishman aims to spot pancreatic cancers far sooner than humans alone can by applying GPU-accelerated deep learning to the task. He helps spearhead Johns Hopkins’ Felix project, a multimillion dollar effort supported by the Lustgarten Foundation to improve doctors’ ability to detect the disease.