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How Indian researchers in US are developing AI tools to cut down on cancer surgeries


NEW DELHI: Two Indian scientists in the US have been awarded a USD 1 million grant to develop artificial intelligence (Al) tools that can help cut down on unnecessary second surgeries in cancer patients by differentiating between a recurring tumour and damaged non-cancerous tissue in MRI images.


Often, cancer patients end up undergoing surgeries that may not be required since tissue that has been scarred and damaged by chemotherapy or radiation resembles a recurring tumour on an MRI scan. It is only after the suspect tissue is removed that it can be confirmed to be non-cancerous.


But new Al tools that can pick up on the subtle differences between a recurring tumour and damaged non-cancerous tissue on post-operative MRI scans of cancer patients can help them avoid surgery. That’s what Satish Viswanath and Pallavi Tiwari — both faculty members in the Case Western Reserve School of Medicine and lead researchers in the Center for Computational Imaging and Personal Diagnostics (CCIPD) at the Case School of Engineering — are building.


The project — which includes a cross-institutional multidisciplinary team and is being led by the duo — was awarded a grant for this purpose by the National Cancer Institute (NCI)’s Informatics Technology in July. NCI is the US government’s principal agency for cancer research and training.


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