Zebra Medical Vision's Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Orit Wimpfheimer, on the future of radiology and how to juggle a high-flying career with being a mom of nine Dr. Orit Wimpfheimer is a diagnostic radiologist who founded her Israel-based teleradiology company in 2001. She joined Zebra Medical Vision, initially as clinical director, and now as chief medical officer, bringing her experience to direct and promote AI technology. What initially sparked your interest in medicine and subsequently, AI in medicine? I came from a family of doctors. My father, uncle and two brothers were all doctors, so I grew up in a family where medicine was central to many of our conversations around the dinner table.
Medical imaging AI, which can help diagnose health problems doctors don't alway see, is only getting more sophisticated--and more lucrative. Just last month, Tel-Aviv-based Aidoc raised $65 million for it's AI-powered medical imaging platform and other local companies are attracting investors at a rapid clip. The software can find, and in some cases, diagnose polyps, tumors or anomalies that may otherwise go undetected by the human eye – a feat that has the potential to save lives. Beyond its most promising attributes, AI-driven technology could also dramatically decrease wait times at hospitals and doctors' offices by automating some of the most tedious work, allowing doctors to see and treat more patients. But critics of the unregulated technology say results can be inconsistent.
X-rays are taken for granted in the western world, but the World Health Organization believes that close to two-thirds of the global population do not have reliable access to diagnostic imaging. The cost of the equipment alone is prohibitive in many developing countries, as well as the cost of maintaining and powering the hardware, which can run into several million dollars. Nanox claims that its "digital" X-ray machine, a Star Trek-inspired biobed called the Nanox Arc, is cheaper to use, easier to maintain and doesn't require installation in a hefty hospital facility. The company gave its first live demonstration of the technology earlier this week. The presentation came from its Israel HQ, broadcast to the (online-only, thanks to COVID) Radiological Society of North America's annual conference.
An MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) team claims to have developed an AI system that can analyze X-rays to anticipate certain kinds of heart failure. By detecting signs of excess fluid in the lungs, a condition known as pulmonary edema, the researchers say it can quantify heart failure severity on a four-level scale correctly more than half the time. Every year, roughly 12.5% of deaths in the U.S. are caused at least in part by heart failure, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One of acute heart failure's most common warning signs is edema; a patient's exact level of excess fluid often dictates a doctor's course of action. But making these determinations is difficult and requires clinicians to rely on subtle features in X-rays, which can sometimes lead to inconsistent diagnoses and treatment plans.
Catching abnormalities on a medical image is important, but case backlogs often mean radiologists are cut short on how long they can spend with each one. Enter Aidoc, a 4-year-old Israel-based startup providing artificial intelligence tools for radiologists. The company secured an additional $20 million for its Series B funding led by Square Peg Capital, which initially led the round that began in April 2019. The new funds bring the Series B round to $47 million and gives Aidoc a total of $60 million raised to date, according to Crunchbase data. If the AI detects something, the tools alert the radiologist, Aidoc co-founder and CEO Elad Walach told Crunchbase News. "What has happened in recent history is that scanners have become cheaper, so now there is more imaging, which is overloading a radiologist's workflow," he said.
The model is based on convolutional neural networks, a recent technique which have been proven to be very effective for various types of tasks. In particular, deep neural networks-based models outperform all previous approaches for image segmentation. However, 3D reconstruction from 2D images is still challenging for neural networks, due to the difficulty of representing a dimensional enlargement with standard differentiable layers. Reconstruction of bone surfaces in particular is extremely challenging, due to the transparent nature of the X-ray images. The main usage of the 3D model is for planning and accurate measurements that are needed to precise fit of the implant or for patient specific intraoperative guidance.
Israel's Zebra Medical Vision has teamed up with Johnson & Johnson subsidiary DePuy Synthes to jointly bring cloud-based AI solutions to the orthopaedic and bone health industry. Under the partnership, Zebra Medical Vision's machine learning algorithms will be used to create three-dimensional models of patients from X-ray images. Conventional orthopaedic procedures are based on two-dimensional CT scans or MRI imaging to assist with pre-operative planning. However, CT scans and MRI imaging can be expensive, associated with more radiation and are painful for some patients. Zebra Medical Vision co-founder and CEO Eyal Gura said: "We are thrilled to start this collaboration and have the opportunity to impact and improve orthopaedic procedures and outcomes in areas including the knee, hip, shoulder, trauma, and spine care.
Approvals for AI-based healthcare products are streaming in from regulators around the globe, with medical imaging leading the way. It's just the start of what's expected to become a steady flow as submissions rise and the technology becomes better understood. More than 90 medical imaging products using AI are now cleared for clinical use, thanks to approvals from at least one global regulator, according to Signify Research Ltd., a U.K. consulting firm in healthcare technology. Regulators in Europe and the U.S. are leading the pace. Each has issued about 60 approvals to date.
Guerbet is a pioneer in the contrast-agent field, with more than 90 years' experience, and is a leader in medical imaging worldwide. The company offers a comprehensive range of pharmaceutical products, medical devices, and services for diagnostic and interventional imaging, to improve the diagnosis and treatment of patients. With 8% of revenue dedicated to R&D and more than 200 employees distributed among its centers in France, Israel, and the United States, Guerbet is a substantial investor in research and innovation. Guerbet (GBT) is listed on Euronext Paris (segment B – mid caps) and generated €790 million in revenue in 2018. For more information about Guerbet, please visit http://www.guerbet.com.
SCOTCH PLAINS, N.J., Nov. 29, 2019 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- Anderson Publishing, Ltd., publishers of Applied Radiology, announce the launch of a new Artificial Intelligence (AI) Digital Community. This AI Digital Community is made possible by support from Guerbet, LLC, a leading manufacturer of contrast media, injectors, and digital solutions. Guerbet recently entered the AI market through a partnership with IBM Watson Health. "Guerbet is excited to support Applied Radiology in this endeavor, as the AI Digital Community aims to reach a wide audience of imaging professionals with important information about AI and its development and implementation in clinical practice," says Eric Smith, Marketing Manager, Medical Devices and Software for Guerbet. Kieran Anderson, Anderson Publishing Vice President and Group Publisher, added, "The AI Digital Community is designed to elevate the conversation around the growing use of AI in medical imaging for our digital audience."