Researchers from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center have received a $2.7 million grant from the National Cancer 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.

The five-year project, which is led by Kyung Sung, associate professor of radiology, and Holden Wu, associate professor of radiology, bioengineering and biomedical physics, will help radiologists improve their ability to diagnose prostate cancer and help identify and predict the aggressiveness of the disease.

The new techniques will be evaluated in men who undergo prostate MRI and proceed to biopsy or surgery.

Previous studies led by Sung have already shown artificial intelligence can perform as well as experienced radiologists in detecting prostate cancer. Improvements to the current system could help not only save time but potentially provide diagnostic guidance to less-experienced radiologists. Sung and Wu have also developed advanced quantitative MRI techniques that will be combined with artificial intelligence to maximize the performance for prostate cancer diagnosis.

“Radiologists require highly specialized training that can take many years to accurately determine whether a tumor is cancer or benign or correctly estimate the grade of the cancer,” Sung said. “We want to create a resource to help radiologists diagnosis cancer accurately in a timelier manner.”