AI helps reveal apparent cellular distinctions between black and white cancer patients

AI helps reveal apparent cellular distinctions between black and white cancer patients

Scientists at Case Western Reserve University are using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to reveal apparent cellular distinctions between black and white cancer patients, while also exploring potential racial bias in the rapidly developing field of AI. Their most recent published research asserts that AI analysis of digitized images of cancer tissues reveals critical variations between black and white male prostate cancer patients. The work also suggests the new population-specific information--in addition to image detail on tissue slides also analyzed by computers--could substantially improve care for black patients with prostate cancer. On one level, we're simply trying to understand and answer this question: 'Are there biological differences in the disease, in the cancer, that are a function of your ethnicity or your race?' In other words, is there something else going on that can't be explained by other disparities- The answer appears to be, 'yes.'" Anant Madabhushi, the F. Alex Nason Professor II of Biomedical Engineering at Case Western Reserve and senior author of the study The study is published today in Clinical Cancer Research , a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research. This new work on prostate cancer builds on mounting evidence that clear biological differences between races can be discovered at a cellular level in the analysis of cancer cells--information which can be useful to tailor medical care to specific groups and individuals within those populations. $3.2M in three new grants from the Department of Defense Madabhushi and his lab, along with collaborators from the Case Western Reserve School of Medicine, University of Washington Seattle and Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, have also been awarded $3.2 million in three grants from the U.S. Department of Defense to assess biological differences in prostate and breast cancers between black and white patients: Sanjay Gupta, Carter Kessell Associate Professor of Urology at the Case Western Reserve School of Medicine and Madabhushi were awarded $1.6 million to study how AI might be used to explore differences at the morphologic and molecular level of prostate cancer between black and white men. Madabhushi, Jonathan Liu at the University of Washington-Seattle and Dr. Priti Lal at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania were awarded $1 million to develop new approaches to understand biological differences between prostate cancer appearance in black and white men. The grant will involve a new technique pioneered by Liu's group called "light sheet microscopy tissue imaging," which uses AI and 3D technology to view tumors in an entirely new way, Madabhushi said. Cheng Lu, an assistant research professor in Madabhushi's Center for Computational Imaging and Personalized Diagnostics, and collaborators, were awarded a three-year $570,000 grant to use AI to study differences in appearance of tissue biopsy images of triple-negative breast cancer, a very aggressive form of breast cancer, between black and white women. Implicit in all of the ongoing research, Madabhushi said, is the larger question about whether the racial differences being discovered at the cellular level are revealing a research bias at the human level. "Even as we do this groundbreaking research, we can't allow ourselves to get trapped into trusting these models blindly," he said, "so we need to question whether we are considering all populations (and) ask how diverse our research pool is." Prostate cancer study Racial differences were a key component in the most recent research work. The prostate cancer study was performed over three years at six sites and involved nearly 400 men with the disease. One of the critical questions in management of prostate cancer patients is to identify which men following prostate surgery are at higher risk of disease recurrence and could benefit from adjuvant therapy. Related Stories



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