Google Health and iCAD partner to detect breast cancer

Google Health and iCAD partner to detect breast cancer
Visuel : Google Health

Detecting cancers at an early stage increases patients’ chances of survival and can potentially avoid necessary surgery at a later stage. Google Health, which has developed AI technology for breast cancer detection, and iCAD, a provider of innovative cancer detection and treatment solutions, announced a strategic development and commercialization agreement on Nov. 28 that will enable iCAD to integrate AI into its portfolio of breast imaging AI solutions.

Google Health has been interested in breast cancer, one of the most common cancers (2,261,419 new cases in 2020 according to for several years. In 2017, the company had published a paper demonstrating how AI models can accurately detect metastatic breast cancer from lymph node samples. Its work then turned to early-stage breast cancer screening and in collaboration with colleagues at DeepMind, Cancer Research UK Imperial Centre, Northwestern University and Royal Surrey County Hospital, trained and fitted a model on a representative dataset of anonymized mammograms from more than 76,000 women in the UK and more than 15,000 women in the US, to see if it could detect signs of breast cancer in the scans.

The model published in a Nature research paper was then evaluated on a separate anonymized dataset of more than 25,000 women in the UK and more than 3,000 women in the US: it produced a 5.7% reduction in false positives in the US and 1.2% in the UK and a 9.4% reduction in false negatives in the US and 2.7% in the UK.

While human experts had access to patient histories and previous mammograms, the model processed only the most recent anonymous mammogram without any additional information and yet, according to Google Health, outperformed individual experts when making decisions to accurately identify breast cancer.

Currently, in a partnership, Google Health is working with Northwestern Medicine, to see if its AI model can help prioritize high-risk cases, and reduce the time to diagnosis and help improve the patient experience.

The partnership with iCAD

Under the terms of the agreement between the two companies, Google is licensing its breast cancer AI and personalized risk assessment to iCAD, which will use it to further enhance its Breast AI suite and market products developed.

iCAD’s Breast AI suite is a portfolio of clinically proven technologies for breast cancer detection, density assessment and personalized risk assessment in the short term. It includes two solutions: ProFound AI for 2D mammography and ProFound AI Risk for 3D tomosynthesis.

Stacey Stevens, President and CEO of iCAD, states:

“iCAD’s Breast AI technologies will revolutionize breast cancer screening by making it more accurate, efficient and personalized. With the addition of Google Health’s technology, we are positioned to improve the performance of our algorithms for 2D and 3D mammography, which will further strengthen our market leadership position; driving global adoption. This partnership will allow us to leverage Google Health’s strengths, technology capabilities and resources as a global leader in AI.”

The partnership also calls for iCAD to use Google Cloud’s secure and scalable infrastructure, allowing it to quickly expand its cloud-hosted solutions into new regions where infrastructure issues may limit the ability to offer breast cancer screenings.

Stacey Stevens concludes:

“With more than 200 country and territory customers worldwide, Google Cloud is used ubiquitously across a range of industries, and it is particularly well optimized for healthcare imaging AI delivery. This partnership will enhance our ability to expand our market potential and accelerate the commercialization of our own cloud. Healthcare providers are increasingly moving away from locally deployed systems to virtual or remote settings. In addition, hospitals are under increasing pressure to reduce costs while delivering quality care, underscoring the need to streamline operations and increase clinician productivity. Integrating Google’s cloud technology into a flexible delivery model gives facilities the solution they need, and the technology patients deserve.”

Translated from Google Health et iCAD partenaires pour la détection du cancer du sein