Google Health and DeepMind have created an AI tool capable of spotting breast cancer with as much accuracy as a human radiologist, according to a new paper published in Nature on Wednesday.
Mitchell said screening was a process that helps diagnose breast cancer at an early stage when treatment is more likely to be successful. But it also has issues such as false positives. AI, she said, could help improve the screening process and take the pressure of the UK’s national health service.
“While further clinical studies are needed to see how and if this technology could work in practice, the initial results are promising,” she said.
Breast cancer kills roughly 11,400 people in the UK every year according to Breast Cancer Research UK.
DeepMind has suggested that the AI tool could be used as an automated “second reader” to assist radiologists. In the UK it is already a standard procedure for two radiologists to view a scan. DeepMind claims to have run a simulation that indicated using the AI could alleviate the work of second readers by 88%.
In 2017 its healthcare research came under scrutiny after the UK’s data watchdog ruled it had illegally entered into a patient data-sharing agreement with the NHS. For its breast cancer research, DeepMind stressed that the datasets collected were anonymized and subject to strict privacy controls.