Google licenses its AI tool for breast cancer screening to a medical firm

It is the first ever commercial partnership between Google Health and the medical company iCAD.
Brittney Grimes
A medical doctor looking at a mammogram and checking for breast cancer at the hospital.
A medical doctor looking at a mammogram and checking for breast cancer at the hospital.

ChooChin/iStock  

Google recently announced that it licensed its AI research prototype to a medical company called iCAD. The AI research model can be used for breast cancer screening. iCAD is a company that creates innovative medical equipment for cancer detection.

iCAD made the announcement about the collaboration yesterday, Nov. 28, on its website.

It is the first time ever that Google Health has licensed this specific artificial intelligence technology in a commercial partnership for breast cancer screening and personalized risk assessment of the disease, to iCAD. It’s also the first commercial partnership that Google has entered into regarding its AI technology.

“Joining forces with Google marks a historic milestone for our company, as leveraging Google’s world-class AI and Cloud technology elevates the caliber of our market-leading breast AI technologies and may also accelerate adoption and expand access on a global scale,” said Stacey Stevens, president and CEO of iCAD.

Collaborative efforts

The two companies are hoping to use the combined efforts and technology to improve patient care and create more treatment options. “iCAD and Google Health are united in our purpose-driven missions to elevate innovation, improve patient care and optimize outcomes for all. By combining the power of our technologies and teams, we strengthen our fight against breast cancer and positively impact the lives of women and their loved ones across the globe,” Stevens stated.

iCAD will integrate Google Health’s AI technology into its Breast AI Suite, by not only using artificial intelligence to advance treatment, but also support cancer patients while they have cancer. iCAD plans to do this by incorporating Google Health AI with ProFound AI Risk, the world’s first clinical decision support tool that would deliver precise, personalized short-term breast cancer risk estimation for each patient.

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The technology can potentially identify individuals who are at a high risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer before or at their next screening by using information from a mammogram. It would allow for the creation of tailored screening regimens instead of a one-size-fits-all screening system.

First AI research model used with iCAD

The first Google mammography AI research model to be incorporated with iCAD is the Profound AI apparatus, which analyzes images from digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT). Also known as 3D mammography, DBT takes multiple X-ray images of the breast tissue from different angles. “Although 3D mammography is growing in adoption around the world, in many countries 2D mammography remains widely prevalent for breast cancer screening,” said Dr. Axel Gräwingholt, a radiologist at the Radiologie Am Theater in Paderborn, Germany.

He believes that combining the two company’s strong points will help lead to better cancer detection and better outcomes. “A growing body of research shows ProFound AI® could play a significant role in empowering clinicians to overcome these challenges, and iCAD’s commitment to the continual advancement of this technology provides clinicians critical tools that can lead to improved outcomes for all,” Gräwingholt continued.

The future of Google and iCAD

In a statement on the company’s site, iCAD mentioned that integrating artificial intelligence, specifically Profound AI, with its tools increases rate of cancer detection by 27%. “iCAD’s Breast AI technologies are revolutionizing breast cancer screening by making it more accurate, efficient and personalized,” Stevens said.

The two companies want to combine their strengths and resources to allow for better breast cancer screenings, therefore creating better outcomes for patients in the future using AI.