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Greek Doctor Uses Breakthrough AI to Improve Life of Cancer Patients

Greek doctor Metrakos
Greek doctor and colorectal cancer researcher, Peter Metrakos. Credit: McGill Reporter.

Dr. Peter Metrakos is the Greek leader of a research team working on improving survival rates of cancer patients by using breakthrough artificial intelligence (AI) technology.

The team of doctors, based in Canada, are working to help patients suffering from colorectal cancer survive an incredibly deadly disease, which, as it stands, has a five-year survival rate of only 12 percent.

Cancer research using AI

The research team is working with the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC) to develop personalized medicine in the colorectal cancer field.

Current research is based on Metrakos’ 2016 research into colorectal cancer cells’ relationship to blood vessels.

The Greek doctor and his team will use liquid biopsy techniques to separate constituent parts of the cancer patient’s blood in order to identify those containing cancer cells. These data will then be anonymously shared with an AI company named MIM in Montreal so that the company may attempt to identify patterns in patients’ blood.

The information attained through the implementation of AI is purported to enable researchers to develop personalized treatment plans for patients that would otherwise not respond to conventional therapies.

This groundbreaking research could eventually save thousands of lives from what is currently a very lethal disease.

Greek Doctor works on cancer research

Metrakos was born in 1960 in Greece but relocated to Canada with his parents before attending high school. He then attended Baron Byng High School in Montreal, which has a significant Greek population.

Metrakos attended McGill University, earning a Bachelor’s degree, and subsequently studied medicine at the same university.

He currently works as a surgeon, predominantly performing liver transplants, and delves into research, as well.

In an interview with his high school—seen below—one gets a glimpse of a more personal side of the Greek doctor.

Help with funding

The ambitious research project is being funded by many generous donors. A great deal of the research is thanks to donations to the McGill University Health Center (MUHC). The Ministry of Economic Development, Innovation and Export Trade of Quebec has also decided to match private donations to the project by funding MEDTEQ+.

Diane Côté, CEO of MEDTEQ+ says: “This exceptional partnership between leaders of their respective fields will allow [us to further] accelerate…the research against cancer. We’re confident that artificial intelligence will bring tremendous added-value in improving treatment to stage IV cancer patients.”

“MEDTEQ+ has always [favored] the collaborative development of innovations exploiting new enabling technologies, such as artificial intelligence in several forms, and this project is a great example of our approach,” Côté explains.

“This innovative new partnership demonstrates Quebec’s continued leadership in the field of artificial intelligence applied in health care,” says Quebec’s Minister of Economy and Innovation Pierre Fitzgibbon. “I am certain that this collaboration will ensure many promising developments in healthcare, for the benefit of patients here in Québec; as well as Canada and the world.”

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