Watch out! Artificial intelligence (“AI”) is coming! AI is coming to healthcare and drug discovery!
Oops!! It’s already here!!
Google’s DeepMind project is an AI research organization that has been involved in several groundbreaking projects in recent years. One of the areas where the technology has shown great promise is in healthcare. DeepMind has been working with hospitals and research institutions to develop AI systems that can assist doctors in diagnosing and treating diseases more accurately and effectively. One of the areas where this technology is being put to use is in the field of liver cancer research.
Liver cancer is a serious disease that affects millions of people worldwide. It is one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths, and the prognosis for patients is often poor. One of the challenges in treating liver cancer is that it is often detected at a late stage when it has already spread to other parts of the body. This makes it difficult to treat and often leads to a poor outcome for the patient.
DeepMind has been working with researchers at University College London (UCL) to develop an AI system that can help doctors detect and diagnose liver cancer earlier. The system uses machine learning algorithms to analyze medical images of the liver and identify early signs of cancer. The AI system has been trained on thousands of images of the liver, including images of healthy tissue and images of liver cancer.
The system works by analyzing the images of the liver and identifying patterns that are associated with cancer. It can detect tiny changes in the liver tissue that may not be visible to the human eye. This allows doctors to diagnose liver cancer at an earlier stage, when it is more treatable.
The AI system has been tested on a large dataset of liver scans, and the results have been promising. The system was able to accurately identify liver cancer in over 90% of cases, which is a significant improvement over existing methods. The system also had a very low false positive rate, which means that it did not mistakenly identify healthy tissue as cancerous.
This diagnostic AI system is still in the early stages of development, but the results so far are very promising. If the technology can be further refined and validated, it could have a significant impact on the treatment of liver cancer. It could help doctors diagnose the disease earlier, which would lead to better outcomes for patients.
And improving diagnostic capabilities is not the only area in which AI can impact cancer therapies.
New research uses AlphaFold, an AI-powered protein structure database, to accelerate the design and synthesis of a drug to treat the most common type of primary liver cancer. It is the first successful application of AlphaFold to the “hit identification” process in drug discovery.
The goal of hit identification, also known as hit-finding or hit discovery, is to deliver a compound with confirmed activity against a biological target. It looks for active sites on a substance to which a target compound of a particular size and structure could bind and potentially affect activity of the substance. This target compound is called a “hit” and is often the starting point for chemistry activities.
So, identifying a “hit” is not the endpoint of a process – just the beginning. But it’s remarkable that this could be accomplished without the time-consuming “hit or miss” methods currently in use.
This study by an international team of researchers, recently published in Chemical Science, is led by the University of Toronto’s Acceleration Consortium director Alán Aspuru-Guzik, Chemistry Nobel laureate Michael Levitt, and Insilico Medicine founder and CEO Alex Zhavoronkov.
AI is revolutionizing drug discovery and development. In 2022, the AlphaFold computer program, developed by Alphabet’s DeepMind, predicted protein structures for the whole human genome––a remarkable breakthrough in both AI applications and structural biology. This free AI-powered database is helping scientists predict the structure of millions of unknown proteins, which is key to accelerating the development of new medicines to treat disease and beyond.
In conclusion, the DeepMind project is an exciting development in the field of liver cancer research. The AI system developed by DeepMind and UCL has shown great promise in detecting liver cancer at an early stage. This could lead to improved outcomes for patients and a better understanding of the disease. Other applications of the technology can also inform and accelerate the drug discovery process without the “hit or miss” techniques now in use.
As AI technology continues to develop, we can expect to see more exciting advances in healthcare and medicine.
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