Baylor testing AI imaging system to lower re-operation rate among breast cancer patients

Houston-based Baylor College of Medicine is launching a study to help surgeons better assess if they've successfully removed a breast tumor.

Alastair Thompson, MD, a surgical oncologist and professor at Baylor, is enrolling patients at Baylor St. Luke's Medical Center in the study. Images of their breast tumors will be collected to create an artificial intelligence tool that helps doctors determine if they removed a tumor in its entirety. 

"One of the big problems in breast cancer surgery is that in about one in four women on whom we do a lumpectomy to remove cancer, we fail to get clear margins," Dr. Thompson said in an Aug. 5 news release. "That in turn leads to a need for reoperation to avoid high recurrence rates. Hence the need for a good, effective and user-friendly tool to help us better identify if we have adequately removed the breast cancer from a woman's breast, to get it right the first time." 

Baylor is conducting the study in partnership with Perimeter Medical Imaging, which is providing real-time, high-resolution images of removed tissues. The company is developing AI technology to overlay the images over areas that may contain breast cancer to help surgeons make decisions during operation.

"This could be a huge improvement for patient care. It could help patients avoid a second surgery and the physical, emotional and financial stress that accompany an additional procedure," Thompson said.

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