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Can AI be used to treat cancer patients? New study aims to find out

Can AI be used to treat cancer patients? New study aims to find out
Can AI be used to treat cancer patients? New study aims to find out 01:41

Researchers with UC Davis Health will soon find out if artificial intelligence can be used to help treat cancer patients. A new clinical study on ovarian cancer patients will use AI to see if the tool can improve patient care.

The "VIRGO" Project stands for "value-based integrated recommendation software guiding ovarian" treatment. Participants in the study will track their symptoms such as nausea, pain and fatigue to the app to see if the tool can help improve their individualized treatment. 

Dr. Rebecca Brooks, the Chief of Gynecologic Oncology with UC Davis Health, is one of the co-principal investigators for the project.

"The goal is to improve patient experience, healthcare outcomes and reduce cost if possible," Dr. Brooks said. 

Researchers expect to launch the study in the next three to six months. It will include patients from the five University of California cancer centers. They will be monitored for one year to see if the technology helps improve their quality of life. 

Cancer patients will use the app to record their symptoms and sleep habits. Dr. Brooks says the tool will not replace a doctor, but it could help doctors make evidence-based treatment recommendations. 

Patients will use this two-pronged approach of implementing AI and their traditional in-person appointments in an effort to minimize their medication side effects. 

"It really gives us a more continual opportunity to see how patients are doing," Dr. Brooks said. 

Marie Kennedy was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2021. As she was in and out of hospitals for treatment, she recalls how crucial it was to have her patient data on hand. 

"I basically had a big notebook full of all the different information that I was given," Kennedy said. "I would go to that if I had dietary concerns or if I was having side effects."

While Kennedy used the old-school approach of pen and paper, participants in this study will have answers and resources at their fingertips. 

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