How AI is Fundamentally Boosting Cancer Treatment in India?
Advancements in Oncology
In the past five years, the field of oncology has made remarkable strides in treatment and research. Targeted therapies have transformed once-challenging scenarios, enabling patients with Stage-3 lung cancer to lead normal lives. Despite cancer becoming a leading global non-communicable disease and projected to be the primary cause of death by 2030, there is hope in recent advancements. According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), there were 19.3 million cancer cases and 10 million deaths globally in 2020, expected to rise to 28.4 million cases by 2040. Surgical techniques, including robotic and keyhole surgeries, have improved precision and reduced recovery time, especially in gynaecological and urological cancers. Medical management has seen groundbreaking developments in radiation therapy, immunotherapy and targeted therapy, such as CAR-T therapy, representing a transformative shift in cancer care dynamics. Ongoing research and clinical trials further signal a significant move toward more effective and personalized global cancer treatments.
Breakthroughs and Innovations in Global Oncology
Cancer, claiming 10 million lives annually, remains a global threat. Scientists harness cutting-edge technologies to transform cancer care. The Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution India, in collaboration with the World Economic Forum, aims to fast-track 18 cancer interventions. Among the recent breakthroughs:
• Blood Test for Early Detection: A US-developed blood test analyzes a patient's blood protein, successfully identifying 93% of stage 1 cancers in men and 84% in women. This holds promise for a cost-effective and widespread screening method.
• Seven-Minute Cancer Treatment Jab: England's NHS introduces a swift injection for cancer treatment, reducing administration time and benefitting patients. The drug, Atezolizumab or Tecentriq, treats cancers like lung and breast.
• Precision Oncology: Studying genetic and molecular aspects, precision oncology tailors treatments by identifying changes causing cancer growth. This targeted approach minimizes harm to healthy cells, reducing side effects.
• Artificial Intelligence in Cancer Care: In India, AI and machine learning aid cancer care. AI-based risk profiling enables early diagnosis, while AI analyzes X-rays in areas lacking imaging experts, contributing to 18 accelerated interventions.
• Greater Prediction Capabilities: MIT scientists develop 'Sybil,' an AI model predicting lung cancer risk up to six years in advance using low-dose CT scans. This enhances early detection, crucial for effective treatment.
• Clues in DNA: Cambridge University Hospitals analyze DNA from 12,000 cancer tumors, revealing new insights into cancer causes. Identifying mutations linked to factors like smoking or UV exposure enhances our understanding of the disease.
• Liquid and Synthetic Biopsies: Liquid biopsies offer a less invasive alternative to traditional biopsies, testing blood samples for cancer signs. Synthetic biopsies force cancer cells to reveal themselves early in the disease.
• CAR-T-Cell Therapy: Successful for leukemia patients, CAR-T-cell therapy genetically alters immune cells to produce receptors recognizing and destroying cancer cells. Long-term remission is observed in patients treated with this innovative therapy.
• Pancreatic Cancer Detection Test: A breakthrough test at the University of California San Diego identifies 95% of early pancreatic cancers using biomarkers in extracellular vesicles. This offers hope for early detection and improved survival rates.
National Cancer Grid's Innovative Initiative
The National Cancer Grid (NCG), initiated by the Indian Government and the Tata Memorial Centre, has launched a Center for Digital Oncology to advance cancer care using digital technologies. With a network of over 270 hospitals, research institutes, patient groups, and charitable institutions, the NCG aims to establish uniform standards for cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment across India. The focus extends to specialized training, oncology education, and collaborative cancer research. The establishment of the Center for Digital Oncology reaffirms a dedication to harnessing digital tools for enhanced and standardized cancer care nationwide.
Genomics, AI and Precision Oncology
Exciting things are happening in India for cancer treatment! These technologies called genomics and AI that are like protectors for fighting cancer. Genomics, especially the next-level sequencing thing, helps doctors figure out exactly what's going on in your genes. This means they can create special treatment plans that are just for you, based on your own genetic makeup. Cancer happens when genes in our body go unsteady, making cells grow out of control. Sometimes, these gene changes are passed down from our family, causing cancers like breast or ovarian cancer. Thanks to cool technologies and projects like the Cancer Genome Atlas, we've learned a lot about how these gene changes works. Now, we have special treatments, called precision oncology, that use tests to find the right treatment for each person. In the UK, they checked over 13,800 cancer patients in a big project called the Stanford. They found that studying a person's entire DNA (that's like our genetic code) can help create personalized cancer treatments. This is a big deal for cancers in the brain, bowel, and lungs. It's part of the UK's plan to use fancy genetic medicine to help people with cancer. But, while it's exciting, some experts say we need to be careful and think about how available treatments are for the gene changes we find.
Kshitij Rishi, Co-Founder & COO of 4baseCare, says; "A continuous gene mutation in a highly multi-factorial disease like Cancer is the biggest challenge in its precise treatment and diagnosis. Genomic science holds enormous potential to transform the present strategies used for preventing, diagnosing and treating various diseases. As we move forward towards the genomic era, information and data may not be an obstruction to understanding and tackling complexities and challenges involved in the treatment and diagnosis of cancer. But this stands true only if we strengthen our genomic data".
Global Partnerships Boosting India's Cancer Expertise
India is making waves with some awesome international partnerships. For example, the brainy treatment called Zap X for tumors, thanks to the collaboration with Dr. John Adler from Stanford. Our followers at Apollo are also in on the action, teaming up globally through alliances like Oncology Alliance and Apollo Practicum. This global teamwork means Indian doctors get to learn from the best around the world and bring top-notch treatments like proton beam therapy, bone marrow transplants and precision oncology right here. We're even joining forces with Marseille, France, for brain treatments and hanging out with Saint Judes for top-notch procedures. These collaborations are like a superhero squad, closing the gap and boosting India's expertise in the fight against cancer.
So, after diving into the world of cancer treatment in India, it's clear that we're on a roll with some incredible advancements. In this collective effort, we're not just fighting cancer; we're revolutionizing the way we approach it. Here's to a future where cancer becomes a conquerable challenge!