Maryland Teen Develops AI-Enabled App to Help Rural Cancer Patients

Revolutionary AI-Driven App by Maryland Teen Aims to Aid Rural Cancer Patients

Innovative AI diagnostic tool crafted by William Gao empowers healthcare professionals to swiftly detect malignant tissue, bypassing lengthy lab procedures.

By Sarah Smith
March 12, 2024

This video is a part of our ongoing STEM Superstars series. Meet all of the young trailblazers here.

For William Gao, his mission is deeply rooted in his personal experiences. He witnessed the challenges faced by his three grandparents in rural China, where limited access to healthcare led to delayed cancer diagnoses.

Reflecting on this, Gao emphasized, “Inadequate healthcare facilities meant delayed diagnoses, which in turn resulted in grim prognoses.”

Through his investigations, 18-year-old Gao identified a global shortage of pathologists, particularly in developing nations, leading to prolonged diagnostic timelines and increased mortality rates among breast cancer patients.

In response to these disparities, the high school student from Centennial High School in Ellicott City, Maryland, developed an AI-powered diagnostic tool to aid medical professionals in swiftly diagnosing tissue abnormalities. By generating a real-time heat map of a biopsy sample on-site, Gao’s app highlights potentially malignant areas within the tissue.

Gao stressed the significance of expediting the diagnostic process by pinpointing suspicious regions in tissue samples promptly. Additionally, the app mitigates privacy concerns by eliminating the need for transferring patient data between medical institutions.

This advancement, according to Gao, marks a pivotal stride towards promoting equal healthcare outcomes. He envisions potential collaborations with the business and innovation sectors to scale the application globally.

“My goal is to extend the reach of this technology to underserved rural areas worldwide, making a tangible impact and enhancing patient care universally,” stated Gao.

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