How Technology is Reshaping the Way Cancer is Diagnosed and Treated Technological advancements, including in artificial intelligence, are changing the way cancer is diagnosed and treated. On Wednesday, Nov. 8 at 1:00 p.m. ET, Renee Wegrzyn, director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H), and Eric Topol, executive vice president of Scripps Research, join Washington Post Live to discuss how technology and innovation are reshaping cancer care. Cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide, and its diagnosis and treatment have traditionally been complex and time-consuming. However, with recent technological advances, the landscape of cancer care is rapidly evolving. One of the key innovations in cancer diagnosis is the use of artificial intelligence (AI). AI algorithms can analyze vast amounts of data and identify patterns that may be missed by human doctors. This can lead to earlier and more accurate cancer diagnoses, potentially saving lives. For example, researchers at Stanford University developed an AI system that can detect skin cancer with the same accuracy as a dermatologist. The system was trained on a database of nearly 130,000 skin images, allowing it to recognize patterns indicative of cancerous or non-cancerous skin lesions. This technology has the potential to improve early detection rates and reduce the need for unnecessary biopsies. AI is also being used to improve the accuracy of mammograms, the most common screening tool for breast cancer. Studies have shown that AI algorithms can improve mammography interpretation, reducing false negatives and false positives. This technology could lead to earlier detection of breast cancer and more targeted treatment plans. In addition to diagnosis, technology is also changing the way cancer is treated. One of the most promising advancements is the use of targeted therapies. These treatments are designed to attack specific cancer cells or genetic mutations, minimizing damage to healthy cells. Targeted therapies can be more effective and have fewer side effects than traditional chemotherapy. Precision medicine is another area where technology is making a significant impact. This approach involves tailoring cancer treatment to an individual's specific genetic makeup. By analyzing a patient's DNA, doctors can identify genetic mutations that may be driving the growth of cancer cells. This information can be used to develop personalized treatment plans that target these specific mutations. For example, in 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first cancer treatment based on a tumor's genetic characteristics rather than its location in the body. The drug, called pembrolizumab, is used to treat advanced solid tumors that have a specific genetic mutation. This approval marked a significant step forward in personalized medicine and is likely to lead to more targeted and effective cancer treatments in the future. Furthermore, technology is revolutionizing the way cancer treatments are delivered. Telemedicine, for example, allows patients to consult with their doctors remotely, eliminating the need for in-person visits. This is especially beneficial for cancer patients who may live far from treatment centers or have limited mobility. Telemedicine can also facilitate collaboration between doctors, making it easier to share information and provide comprehensive care. Another technological innovation is the development of robotic surgery systems. These systems allow surgeons to perform minimally invasive procedures with greater precision and control. Robotic surgery can reduce the risk of complications, speed up recovery times, and improve patient outcomes. In conclusion, technology is reshaping the way cancer is diagnosed and treated. Artificial intelligence, targeted therapies, precision medicine, telemedicine, and robotic surgery are just a few of the technological advancements that are revolutionizing cancer care. These innovations have the potential to improve outcomes, reduce costs, and ultimately save lives. As technology continues to advance, the future of cancer care looks brighter than ever.
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