SRL Diagnostics to develop AI tool for breast cancer detection with Microsoft grant

SRL Diagnostics to develop AI tool for breast cancer detection with Microsoft grant
Photo Credit: Pixabay
22 Sep, 2020

Pathology and radiology company SRL Diagnostics said it has initiated the second phase of AI solution deployment to focus on the histopathology of breast, colon and prostate cancers. Histopathology is the study of tissue diseases.

The second phase comes two years after the Gurugram-based firm received the Redmond, Washington headquartered company’s technology and data science grant as part of the latter’s AI for Health programme. The five-year-old $60 million programme helps non-profits, researchers and organisations tackle global health challenges.

The company said it developed AI models in cytology (the study of cells), specifically an algorithm to screen liquid based cytology slides for cervical cancer, in the first phase.

TechCircle could not immediately ascertain the amount SRL received from Microsoft as part of the programme.

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SRL said combining Microsoft Azure and AI technology innovations with SRL’s infrastructure to study human cells and tissues would help improve the quality and reach of pathology. 

As part of the engagement, senior histopathologists from the diagnostics firm will lead and set processes for AI algorithm development and provide research insights that will help with the digitisation of pathology in India, a statement said.  

The diagnostics firm said it would use its repository of de-identified histopathology slides to train an AI algorithm. The system will work by tissue analysis through artificial neural networks, which will help the labs process more samples and identify diseases faster.

With the number of cancer patients growing, there’s a need to quickly and accurately analyse samples to help doctors arrive at a diagnosis faster, Anand K, CEO of SRL Diagnostics, said.

“The AI platform we will build is expected to create a software environment infused with millions of data points and knowledge gained from SRL’s expert laboratory professionals,” he said.

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A report by the World Health Organisation showed that there were over two million breast cancer cases in 2018, with 6,27,000 deaths. Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer, accounting for 14% of all cancers in Indian women, it said.    

“The complexity of diseases requires us to use technology to learn more about how to fight them. We hope that our support will yield helpful insights around diseases such as cancer,” John Kahan, chief data analytics officer and global lead of the AI for Health programme at Microsoft, said.