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Alphabet's Google Cloud Cancer Diagnostics Solution to be Used in Defense Department Pilot

By Eric Volkman – Sep 2, 2020 at 4:37PM

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The product leverages artificial intelligence to help doctors make a more accurate diagnosis of the disease.

Two rather unlikely entities are teaming up to advance efforts in cancer diagnostics. Alphabet's (GOOG -2.22%) (GOOGL -2.10%) Google announced that its Google Cloud unit has been selected by the government's Department of Defense (DoD) for a pilot project utilizing Google Cloud's digital pathology solution.

Under the terms of the arrangement, Google Cloud will deploy its solution, which includes artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled microscopes, to certain DoD facilities in order to help military doctors detect cancer in patients. The pilot program is being run by DoD's Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), which is responsible for testing new technologies potentially useful to the military.

A medical professional using a microscope.

Image source: Getty Images.

"The goal of the DIU-Google Cloud project is to help improve the accuracy of diagnoses, assisting physicians who face an overwhelming volume of data when making diagnostic and treatment decisions -- and to help lower overall healthcare costs," Alphabet/Google wrote in the press release announcing its participation in the project.

"Working with DIU, Google Cloud will prototype the delivery of an augmented reality microscope that overlays AI-based information for doctors, providing pathology-based cancer detection tools at the point-of-care," the company added.

If found to be effective, the Google Cloud technology could be utilized in other branches of the armed forces; beyond that, it could find willing buyers in other arms of the sprawling federal government and ultimately find its way into civilian medical use.

Alphabet did not specify how much -- or even if -- it was being paid for its participation in the pilot.

Nevertheless, its stock did well on the news, closing over 4% higher on Tuesday. That level well exceeded the gains of the broader equities market.

Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Eric Volkman has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Alphabet (A shares) and Alphabet (C shares). The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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