AI Screens Brain Tumor Genes in Less Than Two Minutes

March 30, 2023 11:57:31

Brain tumors are among the deadliest medical conditions that affect humankind. More than 251,000 people succumbed to brain and central nervous system tumors in 2020, and an estimated 18,990 Americans are expected to lose their lives to brain and CNS tumors this year.

Overall, brain and nervous system cancers are the 10th most prolific cause of death among adults. As such, it is crucial that physicians diagnose brain tumors as early as possible to ensure the means of treatment they use are as effective as possible.  The past few years have seen medical researchers take advantage of artificial intelligence (AI) to make early detection of tumors as efficient as possible.

A joint team consisting of experts from numerous institutions including Michigan Medicine, the University of San Fransisco, New York University and the University of California developed an AI tool that allows them to screen for brain tumor genes in only two minutes. Dubbed DeepGlioma, the AI diagnostic screening system leverages rapid imaging to quickly screen tumor specimens for genetic mutations that could lead to brain tumors.

The research effort involved more than 150 patients diagnosed with diffuse glioma, a common type of primary central nervous system tumor. Accurate diagnosis of this type of cancer usually requires analyzing a tumor specimen extracted from the patient during surgery.

For this study, researchers used a mutation identification system from the World Health Organization to determine diffuse glioma molecular subgroups with more than 90% accuracy.

If deployed to the mass market, such a tool would grant physicians an effective weapon in their fight against brain tumors, such as diffuse glioma.

Todd Hollon, MD, a University of Michigan Health neurosurgeon, assistant professor of neurosurgery at U-M Medical School, lead study author and DeepGlioma creator, says the tool could potentially expand patient access to diagnosis while increasing the speed of said diagnosis and improving patient care.

Since every brain tumor patient reacts differently to treatment approaches such as surgery, figuring out their genetic makeup can significantly increase the chances of positive health outcomes after treatment. For instance, patients with a certain kind of diffuse glioma called astrocytomas can gain an additional five years after complete tumor removal, unlike patients with other types of diffuse gliomas.

On the other hand, the tool might also allow physicians to predict whether patients will have recurring issues due to their cancer diagnosis by determining their genetic makeup.

Holland says that such patients currently have limited access to glioma tests and the tests themselves can take days to weeks to provide conclusive results. He concluded that DeepGlioma will allow for “accurate and more timely” tests and give physicians a better chance to predict their patients’ diagnoses and deploy effective treatments.

With millions of research dollars being invested by other companies such as CNS Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: CNSP) into brain cancer drug development, a time may soon come when patients have a higher chance of beating any malignancy that afflicts their central nervous system and brain.

NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to CNS Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: CNSP) are available in the company’s newsroom at

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