Could artificial intelligence lead the way in the effort to cure cancer?
News Radio 1200 WOAI reports that local oncologists are optimistic, but a little skeptical, of a research project done in the U.K. which indicates that artificial intelligence may be useful in determining which if the billions of potential mutations a cancer gene may make, allowing doctors to get ahead of the mutating cancer with targeted therapies and treatments.
Dr. Steven Kalter of San Antonio's START Center, which is one of the nation's leaders in developing targeted therapies, says the study has promise, but there are a lot of questions.
"As cancers mutate and become more heterogeneous, they are harder to cure, so we are constantly preparing new therapies that will predict the cancer's next step," he said.
He says artificial intelligence could help oncologists make those predictions, but the real key is to determine the type of therapy best brought to bear against the cancer.
"We are all using supercomputers these days to predict mutations and predict the cancer's next step," he said. "The problem is developing an adequate therapy to kill the cancer."
And Dr. Kalter says the University of Edinburgh study looked at mature cancers which have already begun to mestastisize. He says the focus now is on early detection of cancers, which enables doctors to treat them more efficiently.
"Early cancers ten to be homogeneous and they can often be cured by surgery or radiation, or gentle chemotherapy."
The START Center has long been on the cutting edge of breakthrough therapies, doing research that has helped bring 19 promising anticancer drugs to market, including the breakthrough drug Keytruda, which was credited with helping cure former President Carter's melanoma.
START is home to one of the largest Phase 1 clinical trial organizations in the world, and provides both conventional and investigational treatment options for people who have been diagnosed with cancer.