This Google AI-powered tool can help detect breast cancer

Google AI, an artificial intelligence research and development division of Google, has developed an algorithm to assist in the detection of breast cancer, referred to as the LYmph Node Assistant or LYNA.

In a blog post this week, the company explained that detecting cancers such as breast cancer in lymph nodes can be a tedious and delicate task. That’s why, in order to better treat such a cancer, being able to detect it on minute scales is important.

According to the post, published findings in two research papers suggest that the “pathologist assistant tool” LYNA can effectively help detect cancerous cells faster and more accurately than the human eye.

In one example, LYNA was used to process several microscopic slides, where it “proved robust to image variability and numerous histological artifacts”. This means that LYNA was able to pick out affected tissues and cells, clearly displaying the differentiating issues.

In another test, pathologists used LYNA to help them examine microscopic tissue slides. It was found, by the professionals themselves, that using the technology reduced their time with each slide by half.

“This suggests the intriguing potential for assistive technologies such as LYNA to reduce the burden of repetitive identification tasks and to allow more time and energy for pathologists to focus on other, more challenging clinical and diagnostic tasks,” noted Google AI.

LYNA is not ready for real-world situations just yet though and the company believes that “further work will be needed to assess the impact of LYNA”, especially with regards to meeting the demands of being used on a large-scale.

Feature image: Google AI

Shereesa Moodley


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