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Teenager Unleashes Computer Power For Cancer Diagnosis


Duke University undergraduate Brittany Wenger.

A Duke University undergraduate has developed an artificial intelligence program to analyze data from a breast tissue biopsy in search of cancer.

Credit: Royal Society of Medicine

Duke University undergraduate Brittany Wenger recently spoke at the Royal Society of Medicine in London about her research into using artificial intelligence to teach computers to diagnose cancer.

In high school, Wenger began experimenting with neural networks, and decided to apply her research to improving the diagnosis of breast cancer. She developed an artificial intelligence program to analyze data from a breast tissue biopsy. "I'm trying to teach the computer how to think so it can detect patterns that allow it to diagnose cancers easier and quicker," Wenger says.

Two hospitals, one in the United States and another in Italy, are testing Wenger's breast cancer program. Beyond the breast cancer research, Wenger is working on a cloud-based program that targets leukemia by seeking genetic patterns that can foreshadow relapse.

Cancer Research UK senior science information officer Dr. Emma Smith says computers have significantly advanced cancer diagnosis and personalized treatments. "This depth of knowledge has already led to big steps forward in diagnosing cancer and getting patients more tailored treatments," Smith says.

From BBC News
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