Artificial Intelligence (‘AI’) has been in the media spotlight for various reasons as of late. A debate is underway concerning the integration of AI in our businesses, phones, art, and nearly everything else one can imagine. Companies within the healthcare industry are finding creative ways to weaponize AI in the battle against cancer. A recent blog on CB Insights detailed the work being done by a few corporate giants in the oncology space. IBM’s Watson for Oncology, a cognitive computing system targeted to help physicians deliver evidence-based solutions for cancer patients, has already been implemented in Thailand and India and will soon be rolled out across 21 hospitals in China. DeepMind, an AI company acquired by Google, will begin testing the “use of machine learning to reduce the time it takes to plan radiotherapy treatment for hard-to-treat cancers of the head and neck.”

Staying true to the entrepreneurial spirit, startup companies are also taking advantage of AI to treat or research various forms of cancer. Twelve companies were highlighted in the CB Insights blog. Notable Labs provides a service aimed towards oncologists to better identify efficacious treatment options.  Some companies, like Pathway Genomics, hope to determine if early detection of cancer is possible through the use of a blood test kit. SkinVision has entered the mobile space to turn our smartphones into skin cancer monitors through the development of a software application that analyzes skin lesions.

Healthcare professionals and companies alike will be met with new challenges in the coming years as the number of cancer patients continues to rise. The use of AI by researchers and practitioners may present solutions to many of the difficult issues associated with diagnosing and treating cancer, but bringing these new technologies to market expeditiously and at a reasonable cost will still be an ongoing challenge for both small startups and large corporations. Leveraging expertise and services from organizations like Pearl Pathways will help drive product development through the arduous regulatory, clinical, and quality hurdles that medical device and pharmaceutical companies face. Doing so will help ensure that lifesaving technologies march towards commercialization and continue to help patients worldwide.

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