Pairing AI and Genomics in the Fight Against Cancer

By Jan Makala, President and CEO, Imaging at GE Healthcare. This is a repost of an article that was posted on LinkedIn.

Delivering personalized care to each cancer patient depends on insights gained from thousands of other patients. Yet until recently, healthcare systems faced technical limitations when trying to scale this practice. Now, the combination of genomics and artificial intelligence (AI) is pushing oncology toward a major breakthrough that promises to make precision health a reality.

Genomics — the analysis of humanity’s molecular building blocks — has fundamentally deepened our understanding of cancer predisposition, diagnosis, and treatment. In turn that knowledge can lead to earlier diagnoses and more precise treatments, and so the field of genomics holds incredible potential to reduce the number of deaths tied to cancer, which kills 10 million people per year globally.

In practice though, before personalized diagnosis even enters the picture, oncologists build those insights across thousands of patients by analyzing mountains of anonymized patient data, including lab work, background and lifestyle information, comorbidities, and medical imaging. To sift through this massive & complex dataset, AI is key.

That is why I’m so encouraged by GE Healthcare’s new collaboration with SOPHiA GENETICS, whose pioneering AI platform incorporates multimodal datasets with genomics to generate insights for clinicians. Our goal is to merge SOPHiA’s next-generation genomics technology with GE Healthcare’s comprehensive set of imaging solutions and the clinical data integration capabilities of our Edison intelligence platform, to match treatments to multimodal patient data and cancer type.

The collaboration works by bolstering SOPHiA’s vast genetic data with inputs from multiple imaging modalities like CT, MR and X-ray, along with data from electronic health records and radiology information systems. We’re coming together to create a shared pool of clinical, genomic, and imaging data — and we intend to unlock new insights from existing sources, develop clinical diagnostic tools, and power future clinical research.

This marriage of world-class expertise and data in two of oncology’s most important areas — imaging and genomics — will help clinicians identify patients who are most likely to respond to new therapies. That’s essential for bringing personalized medicine & care to each cancer patient

More than 750 hospitals, laboratories and biopharma companies around the globe already use SOPHiA’s genomic analysis services. Incorporating these analysis services into GE Healthcare’s clinical workflow technology will help us overcome the data silos in today’s process of diagnosing and treating cancer.

In the next two decades, the number of new cancer diagnoses is expected to reach nearly 30 million every year. Each of those patients and their families deserve the most effective treatment possible, and their care teams deserve the chance to do their best work. Collaborations like the one between GE Healthcare and SOPHiA GENETICS are vital to achieving this vision of precision health.