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An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian:
Scientists have developed an artificial intelligence program that can screen people for lung cancer by analyzing their blood for DNA mutations that drive the disease. The program works by examining free-floating DNA that circulates in the blood. The majority of this genetic detritus enters the bloodstream when harmless cells in the body break down and spill their molecular innards, but tumors also shed DNA as they form and grow larger.
Writing in the journal Nature, the scientists describe how their AI program crunched data on the DNA found in the blood of lung cancer patients to learn which common cancer mutations most effectively predicted the disease. The researchers then used the trained program to distinguish lung cancer patients from healthy people in a separate group of volunteers who gave blood samples for the study. The system cannot confidently diagnose cancer, but instead flags up likely cases for further medical investigation. In tests, the program had a 2% false positive rate — meaning that it mistakenly flagged two in every 100 healthy people as having the disease — while rating 55% of stage 2 cancers and nearly 70% of stage 3 cancers as patients likely to have the disease.
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