Washington: Researchers have developed a novel artificial intelligence (AI) based method to determine which lung-cancer patients may benefit from an expensive treatment called immunotherapy, an advance that may help reduce health care costs for underprivileged cancer patients. The study noted that the AI system can assess the scans taken when lung cancer is first diagnosed in a patient, and compare it to scans taken after the first 2-3 cycles of treatment to find changes.
The researchers, including those from the Case Western Reserve University in the US, used an X-ray imaging equipment called a CT scan to probe into tissue samples from 50 patients. Using these scans, they trained the AI system to create an algorithm for identifying changes in the lung-cancer lesion. The researchers said currently only about 20 per cent of all cancer patients benefit from immunotherapy — which is a treatment that uses drugs to help one’s own immune system to fight cancer, as opposed to chemotherapy drugs which directly target and kill cancer cells. “Even though immunotherapy has changed the entire ecosystem of cancer, it also remains extremely expensive—about $200,000 per patient, per year,” said study co-author Anant Madabhushi from the Case Western Reserve University.
“That’s part of the financial toxicity that comes along with cancer and results in about 42 per cent of all new diagnosed cancer patients losing their life savings within a year of diagnosis,” he added.
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