Cancer according to the World Health Organization is among the leading cause of death with over 8.2 million cancer-related deaths. And it is estimated that over 1.7 million cancer cases will be diagnosed in 2018 in the United States alone.
The good news, however, is that technological advancement in the medical field has led to better understanding of the nature of the disease; early detection which significantly increased the odds of survival in patients; and improved treatment procedures means cancer-patients have a better chance of fighting the disease.
So, in this article, we’d be taking a look at some of the new technological developments that have in the past year made an enormous contribution in how we combat and treat cancer.
The Use of Artificial Intelligence
The AI evolution is making inroads into the labs and cancer research centers. The theory behind this that computers when ‘trained’ would be able to identify and diagnose a cancerous cell than humans more precisely. Again, the use of machines in cancer treatments means doctors can get a clear picture of a patient’s case faster and more accurately with just a push of the button.
An example of this in play is IBM’s Watson Oncology, where the computer was programmed similarly to how a pathologist would be trained. It crawls latest clinical research, interprets physician notes, gathers lab results which it then leverages to develop a treatment plan personalized for an individual patient. The beauty of this technology is that physician can access the Watson app from any location to make quicker, more precise treatment decisions. The solution has already been deployed in hospitals in India and Thailand.
Traditionally, to get an idea about cancer an invasive surgical procedure known as tumor biopsy is conducted; the thing is this procedure takes several weeks before the results come out. So instead of taking a tumor biopsy, a liquid biopsy can quickly provide the same details, but in this case, the results are out in a matter of days. The idea behind this innovation is simple: Take blood samples from patients and analyze it to isolate the cancerous cells circulating in the fluid.
At the forefront of this technological advancement are the Next-Generation Sequencing and the Digital droplet PCR which are powerful enough to detect these circulating tumor cells in the blood and provide us with details about the malignant tumor.
Wearable technologies are proving to be another step up in the fight for an effective cancer cure. The ATOM-HP wearable is providing doctors an opportunity to track in real-time the effects of the treatments on the everyday life of the patient.