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WHO, DAMO Academy partnership to further medical AI

STOCK PHOTO | Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

A research institute that handles cutting-edge technologies has partnered with the World Health Organization (WHO) to advance digital innovations and bring the benefits of medical artificial intelligence (AI) to more developing countries. 

The launch took place at the United Nations’ AI for Good Global Summit on May 30 in Geneva, Switzerland. 

DAMO Academy, Alibaba Group’s research institute, and the WHO Collaborating Center on Digital Health will leverage their resources by conducting research and providing advisory in digital health, AI, and industrial development. Both parties will also conduct joint training related to medicine, engineering, and other areas to help each other cultivate professional talents with digital health capabilities. 

“In forging this partnership…, DAMO Academy embarks on a mission to make the benefits of medical AI accessible to those in need,” said Le Lu, head of DAMO Academy’s medical AI team, in a press statement sent on June 6.  

“We aim to improve healthcare for those in need through the advancements in medical AI development and digital health accessibility,” he said. 

“… Our collaboration symbolizes not just a shared vision but a joint commitment to harnessing digital innovations to foster global health and wellness,” Shan Xu, head of the WHO Collaborating Center on Digital Health, said in the same press statement. 

The medical AI team at DAMO Academy is collaborating with global medical institutions to explore cost-effective and efficient methods for multi-cancer screening using AI technology.  

It has achieved progress in the early detection of seven common cancers – including breast cancer and colorectal cancer – through a single CT scan. 

Its AI model achieved a sensitivity (a measure of how accurate a screening test is in identifying a condition) of 92.9% and a specificity (a measure of how well a test can correctly identify people who do not have a disease) of 99.9% in a large-scale, real-world pancreatic cancer detection test, according to a November 2023 study published in Nature Medicine magazine. – Patricia B. Mirasol