The U.S. government has initiated to research whether artificial intelligence can assist doctors in diagnosing and treat breast cancer more efficiently, as part of an initiative to find targeted treatments for particularly invasive types of bread cancer that responds poorly to existing treatments. 

Technology Review’s feature revealed that the Department of Defense is enlisting the biopharma company Berg Health to apply artificial intelligence in drug discovery. The partnership is supporting the White House’s Cancer Moonshot initiative that will screen up to 250 000 patient samples in order to search for new biological indicators, or biomarkers, of the earliest signs of cancer.

Despite steady drops in the numbers of death caused by breast cancer in the U.S. over the past two decades, it is still the second-biggest killer among cancers in U.S. women, National Cancer Institute reveals.

The partnership allows Berg access to the DoD’s Clinical Breast Care Project which is a bank containing 13,600 samples of both healthy and diseased tissue from nearly 8,000 patients

“Berg will start by sequencing samples from healthy donors and those with various breast cancer subtypes, TechnologyReview explains, “which will generate genomic and other information on the mutations, proteins and cellular processes present in cancerous and healthy cells. That data will then be combined with patients’ known medical histories and fed into Berg’s AI-based platform, which will produce different models of healthy and diseased tissue using trillions of data points. The platform’s algorithms will then help spot patterns—hot spots or hubs—in molecular signatures across these models. Such patterns could represent biomarkers or drug targets”.

Niven Narain, Berg’s cofounder, president, and CEO explains that Berg then will begin with data, then allowing it to generate hypotheses, which is the reverse process that is commonly applied in drug discovery.

Narain is positive and hoping that other types of breast cancer that are yet unidentified will get identified with the assistance of Berg. Additional news that will be relieving to most who have gone through a breast cancer biopsy, is that the research might lead to a blood test to detect breast cancer, instead of the mammography screening that are used today.

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