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AI system can identify different cancer cells

Researchers in Japan have shown that an artificial intelligence (AI)-based system can identify different types of cancer cells simply by scanning microscopic images.

They claim it is able to achieve higher accuracy than humans and could play a role in the future of oncology.

The system is based on a convolutional neural network, a form of AI modelled on the human visual system. It was applied to distinguish cancer cells from mice and humans, as well as equivalent cells that had also been selected for resistance to radiation.

Hideshi Ishii, lead author of the study published in Cancer Research, said: “We first trained our system on 8,000 images of cells obtained from a phase-contrast microscope.

“We then tested its accuracy on another 2,000 images, to see whether it had learned the features that distinguish mouse cancer cells from human ones, and radioresistant cancer cells from radiosensitive ones.”

On a 2D plot of the findings, the clustering of cell types together showed that, after training, the system could correctly identify cells based on the microscopic images of them alone.

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