Monday, July 13, 1998 Published at 11:53 GMT 12:53 UK
Computer doctor diagnoses cancer
New program helps doctors analyse the results from this scanner
A computer doctor could mean that cancer may eventually be diagnosed at the push of a button, according to scientists.
MRS scans analyse the pattern of chemicals in tumours and calculate whether they are cancerous.
Not only is this surgery costly, but one in 100 patients die as a result of the operation and 3% suffer serious complications.
A European trial indicates it is more accurate than most doctors and almost good as leading specialists.
Professor John Griffiths of the Cancer Research Campaign, who helped to develop the program, said: "We believe we can improve on the accuracy rate of 80% to make it even better."
The robot doctor is one of several new MRS scan programmes under investigation.
Another, developed by Dr Rosemary Tate of Birkbeck College in London, uses maths to interpret MRS scan patterns and is also said to be 80% accurate.
Push of a button
Both programmes are mentioned in the Cancer Research Campaign's Scientific Yearbook.
Editor Dr Lesley Walker said: "I believe it is only a matter of time before we will be able to use this sort of artificial intelligence to diagnose and grade a tumour at the push of a button."