Artificial intelligence (AI) is a relatively novel technology with the potential to revolutionize not just the IT industry but a whole slew of sectors. This technology leverages the ability of computer algorithms to analyze enormous data sets and learn from features or patterns in the data.
AI technology is now being deployed in various industries, including the medical field. A few years ago, researchers found that AI systems could diagnose eye diseases as accurately as trained physicians. Earlier this year, further research also revealed that AI and machine learning could be used to diagnose heart diseases by analyzing the network of veins and arteries in the retina.
Researchers from Saint Louis University School of Medicine and the Missouri University of Science are now trying to figure out how this technology can be leveraged to improve the kidney transplant process. With $1.8 million in funding from a National Science Foundation grant, researchers from the two institutions are partnering up to investigate how AI can support the matchmaking process between transplant centers and donated kidneys.
A press release stated that the project will involve experts in AI and organ transplantation combining their knowledge to determine how artificial intelligence can ensure more donated kidneys get to the people who need them in a timely manner. Researchers noted that the organ facilitation process is wholly reliant on humans and isn’t completely free of human error.
This project will be one of the first attempts to streamline the organ-facilitation process through artificial intelligence and other technologies. Its main objective will be to “facilitate increased utilization of organs,” said Saint Louis University School of Medicine professor of surgery Mark Schnitzler in a press release. Schnitzler added that many donated organs tend to go unused for a variety of reasons, and his team of researchers would like to make sure more donated organs are used. This would make a big dent in the shortage of organs as well as improve the quality of life of patients and extend their overall life expectancy, Schnitzler noted.
He and his colleagues at SLU will provide the project with technical knowledge on the clinical, data and ethical aspects of organ allocation and transplantation. The hope is that they are able to eventually develop a tool that can help physicians and organ-procurement organizations make better, more-efficient decisions about organ acceptance.
In addition, Schnitzler stated that such an AI tool would also help physicians make more data-driven decisions, adding that the technology won’t replace clinicians but give them the additional references and knowledge to make better decisions.
As these researchers explore how AI can support the organ transplant industry, other entities such as Aditxt Inc. (NASDAQ: ADTX) are working to commercialize technologies geared at tweaking immune responses so that fewer cases of organ rejection arise.
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