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News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

AI predicts chemotherapy adverse events, transforming cancer care for Aussie patients

Health Industry Hub | May 17, 2023 |

Pharma News: A team of researchers and doctors based in Melbourne have harnessed the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to predict the risk of chemotherapy-related adverse events and improve chemotherapy dosing in cancer treatment.

This Australian-first retrospective study, conducted on stage 3 colon cancer patients undergoing post-surgery treatment at Western Health, a major Melbourne teaching hospital, has the potential to reshape the global approach to chemotherapy administration.

Leading the multidisciplinary research is Professor Justin Yeung, a distinguished Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons and Head of the Department of Surgery at the University of Melbourne’s Western Precinct. Professor Yeung spearheaded this ground-breaking study with the aim of transforming the field of chemotherapy dosing.

“For the past three decades, we have relied on the same drugs and methodologies to determine chemotherapy dosages,” Professor Yeung explained.

“Traditionally, dosages have been determined based on body surface area, a calculation derived from a patient’s height and weight. However, this approach fails to account for variations in body composition.”

Harnessing the power of AI and automated body composition measurements, the research team has successfully predicted the likelihood of chemotherapy-related toxicities. This discovery is particularly significant considering that 40% of colorectal (bowel) cancer patients require chemotherapy, and up to 70% of these patients experience various complications, including nerve damage, gastrointestinal disturbances such as nausea and diarrhoea, and heightened susceptibility to severe infections.

“Artificial intelligence has removed the guesswork from chemotherapy dosing by accurately predicting potential toxicities,” Professor Yeung shared.

“This development is a game-changer, benefiting patients worldwide.”

The implications of this study extend beyond colon (bowel) cancer patients. Professor Yeung has ambitious plans to expand the research to include other types of cancer, such as breast cancer, in the near future.

“The potential of AI combined with body composition measurements and patient characteristics to predict the risk of chemotherapy-related complications is tremendous,” Professor Yeung enthused.

“We envision a future where this approach becomes the standard practice in every Australian hospital within a decade.”

The unveiling of Professor Yeung’s research took place at the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons Annual Scientific Congress in May. The research has sparked excitement and anticipation among medical professionals, as the study’s findings hold significant potential for transforming cancer treatment. With AI at the forefront, chemotherapy dosing may soon become a more personalised and precise science, resulting in improved patient outcomes.

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