Machine Learning to Advance Cancer Research
Regina Barzilay, faculty
One out of seven women will be diagnosed with breast cancer—and two years ago, Barzilay became one of them. Now, the Delta Electronics Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science is leveraging the tools of her field, natural language processing, to advance cancer research. Many physicians’ observations and clinical findings are still recorded in free form, with variable wordings. This valuable information is much harder to incorporate into research than the more structured yet limited data sets produced by clinical trials. Collaborating with oncologists from Massachusetts General Hospital, Barzilay employs machine-learning methods operating over free text and images to improve models of disease progression and clinical decision making.