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Google, Mayo Clinic Team Up to Implement Medical AI Technology

— November 12, 2020

Google and the Mayo Clinic are working together to develop artificial intelligence to improve radiation therapy.

Google and the Mayo Clinic are partnering to develop an artificial intelligence tool to guide the targeting of radiation therapy in cancer patients.  The new technology will “draw contours around tumors in the head and neck, dividing them from healthy tissue, and help to determine radiation dosage and develop treatment plans for patients,” according to the announcement.  This will improve the speed and accuracy of radiation therapy planning and establish what Mayo Clinic refers to as an “AI Factory” powered by Google that will result in the development of digital tools for multiple clinical specialties.

The ten-year partnership began last year.  Mayo Clinic uses Google’s computing resources to store its patient data and the two collaborate on efforts to apply AI to various clinical and operational tasks.  The AI algorithm for radiation therapy will be built using de-identified data on Mayo Clinic patients who received care in Florida, Arizona, and Minnesota.  The first phase be to design and validate the algorithm, studying how it could be used in practice.

“Data-driven medical innovation is growing exponentially, and our partnership with Google will help us lead the digital transformation in health care,” said Gianrico Farrugia, M.D., president and CEO of Mayo Clinic. “It will empower us to solve some of the most complex medical problems; better anticipate the needs of people we serve; and meet them when, where and how they need us.  We will share our knowledge and expertise globally while caring for people locally and always do it with a human touch.”

Google, Mayo Clinic Team Up to Implement Medical AI Technology
Photo by Solen Feyissa on Unsplash

“Unfortunately, cancer incidence is not going down,” said Nadia Laack, a physician and chair of Mayo’s department of radiation oncology. “We see this as a huge need – that we get better and more efficient at being able to do radiation planning, which right now is very labor intensive.”

Google’s DeepMind unit previously built an AI planning tool for head and neck tumors with University College London Hospitals.

“We’re proud to partner with the Mayo Clinic in its mission to bring the best health care to every patient,” said Google CEO Sundar Pichai. “Health care is one of the most important fields that technology will help transform over the next decade, and it’s a major area of investment for Google.  By pairing the Mayo Clinic’s world-class clinical expertise with our capabilities in AI and cloud computing, we have an extraordinary opportunity to develop services that will significantly improve lives.”

“With one of the most robust sources of clinical insights in the world, Mayo Clinic is well-positioned to lead digital transformation in health care,” explained Christopher Ross, chief information officer, Mayo Clinic. “Our partnership will propel a multitude of AI projects currently spearheaded by our scientists and physicians and will provide technology tools to unlock the value of data and deliver answers at a scale much greater than today.”

“As health care embraces digital innovation, management and analysis of complex data will become increasingly important,” says Thomas Kurian, CEO, Google Cloud. “We are thrilled that Mayo Clinic has selected Google Cloud as the bedrock of its digital transformation.  We look forward to helping the renowned medical center transform health care to serve patients around the world.”


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