Swiss drugmaker excels lung-cancer treatment; to use AI for patient-identification

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Roche Holding AG’s cancer medication — Alecensa — has reportedly shown a significant edge over traditional chemotherapy for lung cancer. The research indicated administering Alecensa after surgical removal of lung tumors reduced the likelihood of cancer recurrence or death by 76%. Roche’s Chief Medical Officer Levi Garraway said it could “potentially alter the course of this disease.” However, pinpointing patients who might benefit from this treatment could be difficult, as the study focused on a specific gene mutation found in only 4-5% of patients.

To tackle the issue of identifying appropriate patients for Alecensa, Roche has reportedly teamed up with Israeli tech firm Medial EarlySign Ltd. This partnership will employ artificial intelligence (AI) to assist doctors in deciding when to get CT scans for early tumor detection. Roche’s oncology and hematology drug development head, Charlie Fuchs, mentioned that deep data algorithms could help identify non-smokers at risk. “We hope more patients can be found early and benefit from this,” Fuchs added, per Bloomberg.

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