MIT researchers are developing software to better detect cancer

April 27, 2015


Cancer is a scary thing, but it can be even scarier if doctors can’t properly diagnose the specific type of cancer a patient has. Researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) want to solve this problem with a program that they said can help doctors better identify the disease.

The researchers specifically looked into improving the diagnosis of lymphoma, a cancer that has more than 50 subtypes. According to Ephraim Hochberg, director of the center for lymphoma at the Massachusetts General Hospital, 5% to 15% of lymphoma cases are misdiagnosed or misclassified, which can lead to difficulty in treating the disease.

“As pathology advances, what previously constituted one cancer category is now often regarded as multiple diseases or even a spectrum of diseases,” said Yuan Luo, Ph.D. student at CSAIL. “Lymphoma diagnosis, as a particular example, is seeing continuous knowledge evolution, and has been a difficult task and a source of debate for pathologists and clinicians.”

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