Australia provides new tech platform to transform breast cancer detection in Vietnam
VIETRAD, an online platform developed over the last year that uses machine learning technology to test, monitor and improve radiologic diagnosis of breast cancer, was launched today. The VIETRAD project was developed thanks to the funding of more than AUD 340,000 by the Australian Government through its Aus4Innovation program.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in Vietnamese women, with over 10,000 new cases diagnosed annually. With most patients presenting in later stages, treatment is more difficult and survival rates are reduced. Early cancer detection depends on accurate interpretation of breast images by radiologists and this is essential to improving treatment efficacy and patient prognosis. In Vietnam, however, diagnostic efficacy in detecting abnormalities on mammograms is below 50%.
VIETRAD uses a novel image interpretation and training approach from Australia, transferred by The University of Sydney. Using high quality mammograms from Vietnam and Australia, expert radiologists are able to practice reading images and improve their skill. Errors in diagnosis are identified, while machine learning technology helps to target training and further improve their capability. This approach can transform radiologists’ efficacy in breast cancer detection on mammograms from 50% today to 85%. This improvement is equivalent to that of Australian radiologists using the original platform.
Speaking at the launch event, H.E. Ms Robyn Mudie, Australian Ambassador to Vietnam said: “Australia is proud to have been providing long-standing support to Vietnam in innovation policy and practice. The Aus4Innovation Partnership Grants, which scale up innovative ideas for socioeconomic development, are supporting so many interesting projects like VIETRAD. But I’m particularly excited about this project because breast cancer is a persistent health concern for women, not only in Vietnam but worldwide.”
“Launching this platform today is made even more meaningful because it is taking place during the Australian Embassy’s Gender Month. This year, COVID-19 has put many women at the frontline of a global crisis. It is an honour to support a project that will have such a direct impact on the lives of women across the country.” the Ambassador added.
Vice Minister of Health Mr Tran Van Thuan noted that, “This VIETRAD platform is the first of its kind in Vietnam. Now doctors and researchers can access to this advance system no matter where they are and improve their capability to detect breast cancer from reading mammograms. It will have a major impact on early breast cancer detection among Vietnamese women. I also expect that the project will replicate this model to other forms of diagnostic imaging like ultrasound and MRI, and apply it to other diseases like lung cancer or tuberculosis. Today we can hope that Vietnam will become the South East Asian hub of breast cancer imaging research and innovation.”
The VIETRAD platform will be introduced and implemented in hospitals in Hanoi, Hue, Danang and Ho Chi Minh City. Radiologists from hospitals in these cities will receive intensive training on how to operate on the platform. Further information on the project can be found on the Aus4Innovation program website.
VIETRAD is funded by Aus4Innovation Partnership Grants, an important part of the AUD 11 million, four year (2018-2022) investment by the Australian Government to help strengthen the Vietnamese innovation system. Aus4Innovation is co-funded by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and InnovationXchange (IXC). Delivery is managed by the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in strategic collaboration with the Ministry of Science and Technology of Vietnam (MoST)./.