Researchers at the Korean Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) recently developed a prostate cancer detection device that takes just 20 minutes of your time and a few ounces of your pee to achieve near 100% accuracy. Human oncologists are only about 30% accurate when it comes to detecting the disease. It’s a big deal.
Background: Detecting prostate cancer is literally a pain in the ass. Under the current paradigm, the disease is confirmed through a combination of laboratory work and invasive diagnostics. This involves a painful biopsy where surgeons take a sample of tissue from the prostate itself.
Unfortunately, a large number of patients who endure this procedure do not really need it. These otherwise healthy people risk hospital infections, surgical death, and persistent side effects such as discomfort, pain, and internal bleeding.
How it works: The KIST team decided to focus on urine as it contains traces of so-called “cancer factors”. Usually humans cannot diagnose prostate cancer with urine because the concentration of these cancer factors is simply not high enough to withstand standard testing methods.[Read: How Netflix shapes mainstream culture, explained by data]
To overcome this obstacle, the team used a special semiconductor-based sensor that is sensitive enough to collect enough data for the team’s algorithms to analyze and correlate it with.
According to a press release from the Korean National Science and Technology Council:
They trained the AI on the correlation between the four cancer factors obtained from the developed sensor. The trained AI algorithm was then used to identify those with prostate cancer by analyzing complex patterns of the detected signals. When diagnosing prostate cancer using AI analysis, 76 urine samples were successfully detected with an accuracy of almost 100 percent.
Take quickly: Impressive! This is fantastic. Assuming everything in research extends to the general population, it could save many lives. On average, around 1 in 41 men will die from prostate cancer. This is the second leading cause of death in men worldwide.
Best of all, the team believes this work can be adapted for other types of cancer.
You can read the team’s research paper here.
Published on January 21, 2021 – 18:48 UTC