BY FAISAL ALI, June 28, 2018
Waiting for the results of a biopsy can be an harrowing experience. The anxiety it creates for the patient, as they wait for the results on a suspect growth or damaged tissue, can even lead to sickness, through a phenomenon known as biopsy stress.
The challenges, however, of obtaining a fast diagnosis and turnaround are immense, not in the least because a sample can require the expert vision of a number of highly trained doctors to successfully diagnose. The more doctors reviewing a case, the more accurate the diagnosis, but the practicality of getting five or ten – or, better yet, a hundred – pathologists to review the samples of every single patient at a hospital, and form a single consensus-based diagnosis, are of course nil.
Artificial intelligence may provide an answer to the problem, or at least provide tools to find one, says Hamid Tizhoosh, director of KIMIA Labs at the University of Waterloo’s Artificial Intelligence Institute.
Tizhoosh envisions a novel approach that is “pathologist-centric,” and has partnered up with several organizations, including St. Jacobs-based business Huron Digital Pathology as well as the Grand River Hospital, to bring the idea to life. The project has also received the backing of the province through a $3.1-million grant from the Ontario Research Fund.