back to article It's official – Google AI gives you cancer ...diagnosis in real time: Neural net can spot breast, prostate tumors

Google Health's so-called augmented-reality microscope has proven surprisingly accurate at detecting and diagnosing cancerous tumors in real time. The device is essentially a standard microscope decked out with two extra components: a camera, and a computer running AI software with an Nvidia Titan Xp GPU to accelerate the …

  1. CAPS LOCK Silver badge

    Speaking as an elderly man...

    ...good!

    1. Diogenes

      Re: Speaking as an elderly man...

      As a man who is officially elderly tomorrow (happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me) , the cynic in me says I will be seeing ads for ED pills and adult diapers , two days before my Dr tells me the bad news.

      1. Toltec

        Re: Speaking as an elderly man...

        Happy 80th birthday?

    2. Warm Braw Silver badge

      Re: Speaking as an elderly man...

      ... and when they offer to install the equipment in situ? I suspect it's been their goal all along - the ultimate conclusion of their intrusive quest for personal data. It's for your own good, you know.

    3. dogcatcher

      Re: Speaking as an elderly man...

      Speaking as an elderly man who is having 4D Brachytherapy later this month, I'm more than happy with the GP who suspected the cancer and the consultant who confirmed it. I suppose it might have been easier if I had simply Googled it.

      1. Chris the bean counter

        Re: Speaking as an elderly man...

        The best of wishes, hope all goes smoothly

  2. James 51 Silver badge
    Big Brother

    As long as it is as good as they say and it's not phoning back to the mothership...

    1. JetSetJim Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Can it be air-gapped from t'internet, or does it rely on "the cloud"?

      Makes you wonder what the govmt can achieve with their £250m for NHS_AI

      1. James 51 Silver badge
        Boffin

        There's an interesting example of innovation inside the NHS on inside health:

        https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0006ls6

        A Scottish trust developed new ways of automating tests with the equipment they already had. Invest the money in stuff like this (and hopefully money to roll it out as well).

        1. JetSetJim Silver badge

          > A Scottish trust developed new ways of automating tests with the equipment they already had. Invest the money in stuff like this (and hopefully money to roll it out as well).

          I think that would require someone who knows what they're doing to be in charge, and I'm not sure that this is in the current set of current govmt policies

          1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

            Was it ever...?

          2. CountCadaver

            NHSScot is falling apart just like NHS England, waiting lists are up all over the place, its just we don't do private contractors. Shame the result is the same though....locally try 5+ month backlog on top of normal 12 week wait time to see physio therapy and its seemingly only going up and up and up

            Was it included in funding to tackle waiting times? No, despite it being a useful way to get people back to work quickly / prevent condition worsening and ergo someone having to be off work due to the injury getting worse.

  3. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Proof of concept

    To me, the fact that it is real time is less important than the fact that it is accurate.

    I'm less hot on doctors being able to ask the machine what it is they're looking at. Replacing doctor's knowledge with a machine's knowledge just feels wrong to me somehow. If I am to be treated, I want to be treated by a doctor, not a guy who's googling the problem.

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge

      Re: Proof of concept

      I'm also all for well trained experienced doctors being being pointed at items of interest by clever software while carefully viewing slides for anything interesting.

      My concern is that human nature tends to the easiest path and beancounters will replace doctors with 'specialists' and up the workload to the point where there's only time to agree with the softwear.

    2. ratfox Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Proof of concept

      I want to be treated by a doctor, not a guy who's googling the problem

      Maybe don't check too carefully what your doctor is doing on his computer next time you visit...

    3. Korev Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Proof of concept

      I'm less hot on doctors being able to ask the machine what it is they're looking at. Replacing doctor's knowledge with a machine's knowledge just feels wrong to me somehow. If I am to be treated, I want to be treated by a doctor, not a guy who's googling the problem.

      Medicine is becoming too complex for a human to understand; some kind of system is needed to produce recommendations. For example, breast cancers in research are often classified with "PAM50", you can guess how many categories there are :)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Proof of concept

        The 50 refers to the number of genes in the assay, not the number of categories. So no, you can't.

      2. JetSetJim Silver badge

        Re: Proof of concept

        PAM50 is a test against 50 genes.

        Here's a list of cancer categories:

        https://ww5.komen.org/AboutBreastCancer/DiagnosingBreastCancer/UnderstandingaDiagnosis/TumorTypesSizesGrades.html

        (from the same site that told me about the PAM50 test)

    4. RM Myers

      Re: Proof of concept

      "To me, the fact that it is real time is less important than the fact that it is accurate".

      I Agree, but realize that sometimes the patient may already be in surgery under anesthesia, and the surgeon is waiting on the pathology report to determine how to proceed. In those circumstances, time may be critical.

  4. codejunky Silver badge
    Pint

    And

    This is why demanding everything health be in the public sectors control is a bad idea. We want what works.

    Well done google.

    1. JetSetJim Silver badge

      Re: And

      Putting the TinFoil, Devil's Advocate hat on, one wonders what commercial agreements were put in place for (a) Google to access the scan data, and get the doctor's time to assist in the training of the AI, and (b) what sale/licensing price would be achieved.

      1. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: And

        @JetSetJim

        Understandable. But for something like this would require someone to access that data and nobody else has done this so we have progress vs fewer tools for screening cancer and whatever other potential such algorithms have.

  5. Korev Silver badge
    Boffin

    ARM is also promising for another reason. It’s cheaper than “conventional whole-slide scanners” by about one or two magnitudes, apparently.

    Although this is much cheaper than a slide scanner, they're not really a replacement. A slide scanner basically has a load of slides loaded in a rack which it then scans at a high resolution automatically; this solution has the scientist/doctor take each slide one by one and then move the slide around the "stage" and then look at the bits they think they're interested in. If you have lots of slides to look at then you'd really prefer to have them scanned automatically, you can then zoom into the bits of tissue that you're interested in like you would with something like Google Earth.

    As an aside, I was involved in setting up the infrastructure for the first one of these the a research site had. We almost pooed ourselves because they thought the scanner would generate 1TB a year :-D

  6. Korev Silver badge
    FAIL

    ARM != ARM

    Is calling a computerised system "ARM" really a good idea? Most people on here would assume that they're referring to Cambridge's finest chip designer; less geeky people would think the thing in between your shoulder and your hand.

  7. Korev Silver badge
    Coat

    If the system predicts your tumour is benign then does that mean it's ARMless?

    1. JetSetJim Silver badge

      Better that than ARMful

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