Prof. Lorenzo Brunetti: Artificial intelligence and ethical dilemmas in hematology

esanum talks with Prof. Brunetti about AI in medicine, its ethical implications and physicians' approach to this tech revolution.

During the EHA2022 Congress we met Professor Lorenzo Brunetti. We spoke with him about the issues related to the use of AI in medicine, particularly the ethical implications and the approach that physicians are demonstrating on this upcoming revolution.

Lorenzo Brunetti is assistant Professor at Università Politecnica delle Marche, Ancona, Italy. His research activity is focused on the molecular pathogenesis of acute myeloid leukemia with mutated NPM1.

A short biography of Prof. Lorenzo Brunetti 

Born in 1983, he obtained a specialization in Hematology at University of Perugia and then a PhD in Molecular Medicine, carried out partly in the United States, at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. Back in Italy, he now leads a research group and carries out clinical work at the hospital in Ancona, Italy. He won the Young Researcher Award 2020 edition for the Oncology category. Currently he is member of the YoungEHA Committee, established to represent the voice of young hematologists and junior members within EHA.

Brunetti and the NPM1 Gene 

In previous research, he and his team identified a possible weakness of acute myeloid leukemia with mutation in the NPM1 gene, namely the fact that cancer cell survival is linked to the interaction between two proteins: that expressed by the mutated NPM1 gene and a protein called XPO1 or esportin. With the current project he aims to describe in detail this interaction between the two proteins and the mechanisms that make cancer cells dependent on it. This could lead to the identification of possible new therapeutic targets.

Key messages about “AI in hematology”

During the EHA2022 Congress, Professor Brunetti moderated a session entitled "Ethics and integrity of science and AI in hematology." Therefore, in our video interview, we spoke with him about the issues related to the use of artificial intelligence systems in medicine, particularly the ethical implications and the approach that physicians are demonstrating in the face of this upcoming revolution.

According to Prof. Brunetti, the potential help artificial intelligence can give to medicine is huge, not only in research but also in clinical practice. In his opinion Clinicians today may not yet be ready to deal with this revolution, but perhaps artificial intelligence is also not yet ready to effectively support clinical practice. In the interview, he anticipated some topics that will be discussed in tomorrow's session with Dr. Elisabeth Bik and Dr. Amin Turki. With the first one, they will discuss fraud in scientific research, especially how artificial intelligence can be used to duplicate or generate fake images for inclusion in scientific papers. With the second, who is also a philosopher, they will talk about artificial intelligence in hematology, particularly the analysis of large amounts of data to predict the progress of bone marrow transplants. According to Prof. Brunetti, there are some things to fix, but for the future, the team given by clinicians and artificial intelligence systems will lead to phenomenal results.

Tip for young physicians: open your mind

Brunetti is a committee member of Young EHA, a community of young physicians and researchers in hematology. He believes it is crucial for young physicians not to remain isolated, but to get to know as many points of view as possible, especially if they are different. His advice for young physicians and researchers is to make an effort to work in different places, with different people, because only by keeping an open mind can you pick up useful details to improve your own work and that of your colleagues.