Apr 26 / 2021

AI identifies optimal bowel cancer treatment options

A team of researchers at University of Leeds and Roche Diagnostics find that AI could pioneer more targeted treatment for bowel cancer patients

A test that employs artificial intelligence (AI) to measure proteins present in patients with advanced bowel cancer was conducted by a team of researchers at University of Leeds and Roche Diagnostics, discovering its potential for more targeted treatment.

Algorithms backed by AI allowed to show that patients with higher levels of proteins known as AREG and EREG, received benefit from a treatment which inhibits EGFR (a different protein involved in cancer cell growth). Importantly, patients with low levels of the proteins didn’t benefit from the treatment.

Typically, anti-EGFR treatments are only offered to patients with advanced incurable bowel cancers. Consequently, the researchers hope their findings will help pioneer a shift in treatment options in the future by identifying patients in the earlier stages of illness who would also benefit from the treatment.

The report’s senior author, Kandavel Shanmugam, a senior director of medical innovation at Roche Diagnostics, said in University of Leeds press release:

As increasing numbers of complex tests are developed to target the right cancer treatments to the right patients, developing streamlined methods for delivering test results will be essential to improve cancer care.

By using artificial intelligence to semi-automate the test process, we anticipate it may be easier for results to be delivered to patients faster to better influence treatment decisions.

Lead author of the report, Christopher Williams, from Leeds University’s Division of Pathology and Data Analytics, said:

As more treatment options become available for advanced colorectal cancer, it is becoming increasingly difficult for patients and their doctors to choose the treatment that’s right for them. This test will help patients navigate this decision-making process more easily.

Roche is a global pioneer in diagnostics and pharmaceuticals focused on advancing science to improve people’s lives.

Source: University of Leeds

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