Archive for ‘Artificial intelligence’

31/03/2019

How a Chinese firm is using artificial intelligence to zero in on liver cancer

  • Genetron Health has developed a technique that detects the disease earlier than other methods
Liver cancer is generally difficult to detect in its early stages. Photo: Handout
Liver cancer is generally difficult to detect in its early stages. Photo: Handout

A Chinese genomics firm says it has found a way to detect liver cancer linked to hepatitis B months before it can be picked up by other methods.

The conclusion was based on a study by Genetron Health and the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences Cancer Hospital using a method called HCCscreen, which applies artificial intelligence to look for tumour-related mutations in DNA in blood.

The researchers found that the new method could pick up early signs of the cancer in people who had tested negative based on traditional alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) and ultrasound examinations.

Genetron Health chief executive Wang Sizhen said early detection was important because it significantly increased the chances of survival.
“The study is a breakthrough in genomics technology and it’s likely to help hepatitis B virus carriers, whose risk of liver cancer is much higher,” Wang said.
The researchers first used AI technology to identify biomarkers common in known cases of a type of liver cancer called hepatocellular carcinoma, or HCC.
The team then developed the HCCscreen technique to look for those markers and used it on 331 people with hepatitis B who had tested negative for liver cancer in AFP and ultrasound exams.
Genetron Health chief executive Wang Sizhen says early detection is important because it significantly increases the chances of survival. Photo: SCMP
Genetron Health chief executive Wang Sizhen says early detection is important because it significantly increases the chances of survival. Photo: SCMP

Twenty-four people tested positive with HCCscreen and were tracked over eight months, with four eventually being diagnosed with early-stage liver cancer.

four patients had surgery to remove the tumours and the other 20 in the positive group had a second HCCscreen test, with mixed results. Wang said all participants in the group of 20 would continue to be monitored.

“This is the first large-scale prospective study on early diagnosis [of liver cancer],” he said.

The results were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences earlier this month.

There are about 93 million people with hepatitis B in China and carriers of the virus have a much higher risk of developing liver cancer.

China’s race to test ‘mutation-free’ gene-editing technology on cancer patients

Liver cancer is generally difficult to detect in its early stages, and twice-yearly ultrasounds and AFP tests for the disease are recommended for high-risk groups such as people with hepatitis B virus infections, or cirrhosis – scarring of liver tissue.

But in China, most HCC cases were detected at advanced stage, the authors of the study wrote.

According to the National Cancer Centre, 466,000 people were diagnosed with liver cancer and 422,000 died from the disease in China in 2015.

Wang said the company aimed to commercialise the technology but even then it would take time to ensure it was affordable.

“[High-risk] people need to have regular screening. This is important for public health but the technology must be affordable enough to be widespread,” Wang said. “The ultimate goal of this study is to develop a product that people in China can afford.”

Source: SCMP

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14/03/2019

China to invest more in emerging industries

BEIJING, March 13 (Xinhua) — China’s emerging industries will become a major driving force for investment growth this year, the Economic Information Daily reported Wednesday.

China will increase policy support for and infrastructure investment in emerging industries in 2019, including commercial applications of 5G, artificial intelligence, industrial internet and internet of things, according to the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).

The country will cultivate emerging industrial clusters with market influence and distinctive advantages that can vigorously drive regional economic transformation, the newspaper quoted Ren Zhiwu, deputy secretary-general of the NDRC, as saying.

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology also plans to promote the deep integration of the internet, big data and artificial intelligence with the real economy, and encourage innovation in new technologies and new forms of industry, the newspaper said.

Local governments will also step up support for strategic emerging industries in financial aid, technological innovation and the business environment. Efforts should be made to improve strategic emerging industries’ capabilities to innovate, said the newspaper.

Source: Xinhua

15/02/2019

Beijing unveils plan to transform vacated “Steel City”

BEIJING, Feb. 14 (Xinhua) — The Beijing municipal government has published a plan to transform a vacated industrial site in its western suburb into a city landmark by 2035, as part of the preparation for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.

The new area, on the basis of the Shougang Park, a former steel plant relocated to neighboring Hebei Province in 2010, covers an area of 22.3 square km, according to the plan released Wednesday by the city’s development and reform commission.

“Building on the existing facilities, we will create a distinct community composed of museums, industrial incubators and leisure facilities,” said Hong Jiyuan, deputy director of the commission.

Sports facilities including a ski site and a training center are under construction in the park for the Winter Olympics. The facilities will be used after the Games to host international events and exhibitions, according to the plan.

Beijing is also building more lakes, forest parks and waterscapes in the area to create an eco-friendly demonstration space.

Shougang Group will cooperate with enterprises both at home and abroad to rejuvenate the old industrial area, said Wang Shizhong, deputy general manager of the company, adding that Beijing’s first 5G network and an artificial intelligence industrial park will be established there.

Source: Xinhua

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