Baidu, PUMC Join Hands in Esophageal Cancer Research

24 Dec

Chinese Internet giant Baidu and the Peking Union Medical College (PUMC) in Beijing on Dec. 22 announced to jointly conduct research on esophageal cancer, in which China has the highest incidence rate in the world.

The two sides will take advantage of PUMC’s edge in medical research and Baidu’s big data and artificial intelligence technology to explore clinical signs to help with early diagnosis and treatment.

Baidu CEO Robin Li said the cause symbolizes a cooperation between the Internet of Things technology and life science. The two sides will explore medical possibilities using big data and AI.

Zeng Yixin, president of PUMC, said the cooperation will explore in depth the molecular mechanisms of esophageal cancer and enhance the country’s ability to diagnose the disease early and even prevent the disease.

Sources revealed that Robin Li will also personally donate 30 million RMB (US$4.63 million) to the cause.

Data suggested that China has the highest occurrence rate when it comes to esophageal cancer, with more than 50 percent of the esophageal cancer patients worldwide in China. Esophageal cancer has an overall five-year survival rate at around 10 percent, with many early-stage esophageal cancers being asymptomatic.

There are two main types of esophageal cancer, squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma. The Chinese organizations decided to conduct their own research into esophageal cancer because more than 95 percent of the esophageal cancer cases in China are squamous cell carcinoma while the most common type in the Western hemisphere is adenocarcinoma.