Google's DeepMind Health, radiologists to treat head, neck cancer

Machine Learning

Google aims to find out if machine learning can help radiologists better plan treatments for head and neck cancer.

The tech giant’s DeepMind Health company will work on the effort in partnership with the radiology department at University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, according to an announcement.

Cancer located in the mouth or sinuses can be difficult to treat with radiotherapy without damaging other organs or nerves, and Google wants to use artificial intelligence to create more detailed outlines of areas that need treatment.

It can take up to four hours to create such a detailed outline, but by using computers to analyze scans from hundreds of former patients, Google hopes it can reduce that process to an hour.

The researchers also hope any algorithms that come out of the initiative can be used for other cancers in other areas of the body, the announcement added.

This is the second recent partnership between DeepMind and a NHS Foundation Trust hospital. In July, it was announced Google will work with Moorfields Eye Hospital to find cures for eye disease.

In a nod to previous concerns that have arisen over DeepMind’s use of data, the announcement also said the scans will be “anonymized in line with the UCLH Information Governance policy before they are shared with DeepMind.”