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New technology from Case Western Reserve University can determine if cancer patients need chemo

Posted at 8:27 AM, Dec 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-24 08:35:31-05

CLEVELAND — Ground-breaking research at Case Western Reserve University could change the face of cancer treatment.

Using artificial intelligence and smart-imaging computer technology, a team of researchers is viewing routine medical images — MRIs, CAT scans, tissue biopsies — to determine the best type of treatment.

The research was named one of Prevention magazine’s Top 10 Medical Breakthroughs of 2018.

Leading the team is Anant Madabhushi, a biomedical engineering professor at CWRU. Madabhusi said the A.I. and computers can detect patterns beyond what the human eye can see. It can also determine the likelihood that a patient is going to respond to chemotherapy.

“We know, for instance, there are a lot of patients out there who get a cancer diagnosis, but we know a lot of them end up getting over-treated, over-diagnosed,” Madabhushi said. He added that it will not decrease jobs for pathologists or radiologists, but assist them and other clinicians.

Madabhushi said if they can reduce the number of surgeries and number of biopsies in patients that don’t need it because they have benign nodules, then that is a victory. Madabhushi said their research has been able to determine whether breast cancer patients, and more recently lung cancer patients, need chemotherapy.

“Right now, just way too many of these patients are being subjected to procedures that are completely unnecessary, are traumatic to them, but also extremely expensive,” Madabhushi said.

According to a recent study in the American Journal of Medicine, 42 percent of new cancer patients lose their entire life savings in two years because of treatment.

Madabhushi said they are working to get the technology into the Cleveland Clinic within the next 18 to 24 months.