Japanese Doctors Use AI To Detect Rare Leukaemia

Artificial Intelligence (AI), which is looked upon as a threat to humans, as they are rumoured to take place of humans in factories, industries, etc. in the coming years turned saviour for a patient suffering from leukaemia. Yes, you heard it right!

A team of Japanese doctors turned to IBM’s AI system, Watson for help after the treatment for an 60-year-old woman suffering from leukaemia proved unsuccessful. The AI was successfully able to find out that she actually suffered from a different, rare form of leukaemia, as the disease had gone undetected using conventional methods by the doctors.

Arinobu Tojo, a member of the medical team, told Efe news on Friday that the University of Tokyo’s Institute of Medical Science has successfully used the new method of diagnosis, which includes a computer programme capable of studying a huge volume of medical data.

Watson, which has been jointly developed by the US’ IBM and other firms, looked at the woman’s genetic information and compared it to 20 million clinical oncology studies. It later determined that the patient had an exceedingly rare form of leukaemia and recommended a different treatment which was successful.

Originally, the woman had been diagnosed with, and treated for, acute myeloid leukaemia; however, she failed to respond to the traditional treatment methods, which confounded doctors.

The conventional method of diagnosis for different types of leukaemia is based on an evaluation by a team of medical specialists after studying the genetic information of patients as well as the clinical studies available; an enormous task owing to the huge amount of data to be gone through.

Satoru Miyano, a Professor at the University of Tokyo’s Institute of Medical Science, points out that this is proof enough of the ability that AI likely has in the coming years, “to change the world.”

This is the nation’s first case of an AI saving someone’s life, emphasizing that this is “the most practical application in the field of medical and health care for artificial intelligence,” added Seiji Yamada, of the National Institute of Informatics and chairman of the Japanese Society for Artificial Intelligence.

What was remarkable was that the AI was able to diagnose the condition in just 10 minutes. Whether we would be able to see AI as a regular feature in the hospital in the coming years only time will tell.