In this fourth episode of OncChats: Assessing the Promise of AI in Oncology, Toufic A. Kachaamy, MD, and Douglas Flora, MD, LSSBB, FACCC, explain the importance of having a diverse editorial board behind a new journal on artificial intelligence in precision oncology.
In this fourth episode of OncChats: Assessing the Promise of AI in Oncology, Toufic A. Kachaamy, MD, of City of Hope, and Douglas Flora, MD, LSSBB, FACCC, of St. Elizabeth Healthcare, explain the importance of having a diverse editorial board behind a new journal on artificial intelligence (AI) in precision oncology.
Kachaamy: This is fascinating. I noticed you have a more diverse than usual editorial board. You have founders, [those with] PhDs, and chief executive officers, and I’m interested in knowing how you envision these folks interacting. [Will they be] speaking a common language, even though their fields are very diverse? Do you foresee any challenges there? Excitement? How would you describe that?
Flora: It’s a great question. I’m glad you noticed that, because [that is what] most of my work for the past 6 to 8 weeks as the editor-in-chief of this journal [has focused on]. I really believe in diversity of thought and experience, so this was a conscious decision. We have dozens of heavy academics [plus] 650 to 850 peer-reviewed articles that are heavy on scientific rigor and methodologies, and they are going to help us maintain our commitment to making this be really serious science. However, a lot of the advent of these technologies is happening faster in industry right now, and most of these leaders that I’ve invited to be on our editorial board are founders or PhDs in bioinformatics or computer science and are going to help us make sure that the things that are being posited, the articles that are being submitted, are technically correct, and that the methodologies and the training of these deep-learning modules and natural language recognition software are as good as they purport to be; and so, you need both.
I guess I would say, further, many of the leaders in these companies that we’ve invited were serious academics for decades before they went off and [joined industry], and many of them still hold academic appointments. So, even though they are maybe the chief technical officer for an industry company, they’re still professors of medicine at Thomas Jefferson, or Stanford, or [other academic institutions]. Ultimately, I think that these insights can help us better understand [AI] from [all] sides—the physicians in the field, the computer engineers or computer programmers, and industry [and their goals,] which is [also] to get these tools in our hands. I thought putting these groups in 1 room would be useful for us to get the most diverse and holistic approach to these data that we can.
Kachaamy: I am a big believer in what you’re doing. Gone are the days when industry, academicians, and users are not working together anymore. Everyone has the same mission, and working together is going to get us the best product faster [so we can better] serve the patient. What you’re creating is what I consider [to be] super intelligence. By having different disciplines weigh in on 1 topic, you’re getting intelligence that no individual would have [on their own]. It’s more than just artificial intelligence; it’s super intelligence, which is what we mimic in multidisciplinary cancer care. When you have 5 specialists weighing in, you’re getting the intelligence of 5 specialists to come up with 1 answer. I want to commend you on the giant project that you’re [leading]; it’s very, very needed at this point—especially in this fast-moving technology and information world.
Check back on Monday for the next episode in the series.