RSNA 2016: Keynote encourages radiologists to embrace evolving technology to treat cancer

On the third day of RSNA, attendees packed the main auditorium to see a keynote address on advancing imaging technologies and techniques that will become useful in efforts to treat cancer.

The presentation, given by Hedvig Hricak, MD, PhD, chair of the department of radiology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, explained how current medical techniques can be improved and combined to further develop the use of minimally invasive, image-guided treatments for tumors.

With the introduction of biological syntax and lexicon, tools that have been the foundation for much of modern oncology, and the rise of precision medicine, many modalities are now in place to help spread the use of cognitive computing. It can help increase efficiency and effectiveness while improving care standards by eliminating the time it takes to interpret imaging studies, Hricak said.

“It’s a matrix that will only become more complex,” Hricak said.

Although there are challenges with precision medicine—like fully understanding tumor biology, selecting appropriate patients and analyzing diagnostics—technology, or artificial intelligence, can help.

She predicts that within 10 years, radiologists will be able to fully utilize molecular imaging probes and techniques, computer tools and artificial intelligence to treat cancer.

Many see artificial intelligence as a threat to the human workforce, but Hricak argued that physicians should instead look at it as an opportunity to better deliver value-driven cancer care.

“The partnership between humanity and technology is only going to get stronger,” Hricak said. “No matter how much things change, we the radiologists need to push the envelope and solve clinical problems.”