A team of investigators from the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center and the University of Alabama at Birmingham was awarded $2.8 million from the National Cancer Institute to develop an artificial intelligence model capable of improving the identification of prostate cancer in Black men, addressing a critical health care disparity.

Not only are Black men 50% more likely than white men to develop prostate cancer, they’re also likely to experience a more aggressive form of the disease, leading to higher death rates when compared to white men.

Led by Kyung Sung, associate professor of radiology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, a team of scientists will design AI models using racially associated MRI-based tissue characterization. In 2020, Sung and other UCLA researchers received a $2.7 million grant from the institute to develop new techniques to improve the quality of prostate magnetic resonance imaging and new artificial intelligence methods that use prostate MRI to assist cancer diagnosis.

Building on that work, Sung’s current team hopes to help lessen the gap in diagnosing prostate cancer among different races. “By using MRI analysis specifically designed for each racial group, we hope this could help improve the detection of aggressive prostate for all men, reducing racial disparities in prostate cancer,” Sung said.