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Guerbet and IBM Watson Health announce a second co-development project as part of their strategic partnership for leveraging artificial intelligence in medical imaging

24.09.2019 08:30

This second agreement is aimed at developing and marketing a software solution to help radiologists and oncologists diagnose and monitor prostate cancer

Villepinte (France) and Cambridge (USA), September 24, 2019 (8:30 CEST) – Guerbet, a global specialist in contrast agents and solutions for diagnostic and interventional medical imaging, today announced that it has signed a new agreement with IBM Watson Health to co-develop and co-commercialize an artificial intelligence (AI) solution to help clinicians diagnose and monitor patients with prostate cancer. This agreement follows the first agreement signed in July 2018 between the two companies with the aim of using an artificial intelligence program to help clinicians diagnose and monitor patients with liver cancer.


Under this second program, Guerbet and IBM will work to develop a tool using artificial intelligence with the goal of helping to detect, segment, characterize and monitor lesions over time. This AI approach may allow for faster and more informed diagnosis of prostate cancer. 


Prostate cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in men (13.5% of male cancer diagnoses worldwide according to the WHO). i The number of prostate MRIs is currently increasing by more than 10% per year, and a 2017 Lancet clinical studyii has shown that 27% of biopsies may be avoided and 18% of unseen cancers detected by using multiparameter MRI. 


“The main diagnostic challenge with prostate cancer lies in identifying cancers requiring rapid treatment and those requiring only active surveillance, while avoiding unnecessary biopsies,iii said David Gruen, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, Imaging, IBM Watson Health. “For this reason, optimal patient outcomes depend on the rapid and accurate diagnosis and treatments that AI technologies can potentially help provide."


“The aging of our population has made prostate cancer a global public health problem. Some prostate cancers warrant active therapeutic management while others require only regular monitoring. Augmented intelligence can help enable doctors to diagnose these different cases more rapidly and more accurately, thus helping to potentially reduce the number of unnecessary biopsies and allowing them to propose the most appropriate therapeutic strategy for each patient. We look forward to strengthening our collaboration with IBM Watson Health to expand our portfolio of innovative diagnostic and surveillance solutions in oncology,” said Yves L’Epine, CEO of Guerbet. 


The AI solution for prostate will be designed for compatibility with most PACS (Picture Archiving and Communication System) visualization systems, which will make its direct integration into the workflows of healthcare professionals that much easier. 


“We are excited to further strengthen our partnership with Guerbet that has already been active in liver cancer”, said Anne LeGrand, General Manager Imaging, Life Sciences & Oncology, IBM Watson Health. “This AI solution for prostate will be one in a range of decision support solutions using Watson image analysis, that may potentially help radiologists and oncologists to diagnose conditions and make clinical decisions with patients.” 


“With IBM Watson Health, we will be leveraging progress made under the initial liver collaboration for the purposes of this second project dedicated to prostate cancer, with the same aim of delivering augmented intelligence to help radiologists and oncologists. This partnership is in line with Guerbet’s commitment to developing ambitious medical solutions to speed up diagnosis, improve the patient experience, and reduce clinical risks and costs,” said François Nicolas, Chief Digital Officer for Guerbet. 


i
“Latest global cancer data: Cancer burden rises to 18.1 million new cases and 9.6 million cancer deaths in 2018;” Press Release; The World Health Organization; 12 September 2018

ii (Diagnostic accuracy of multi-parametric MRI and TRUS biopsy in prostate cancer (PROMIS): a paired validating confirmatory study. Vol. 389, Issue 10071, pp 815-822, February 25, 2017)

iii Active surveillance for prostate cancer: patient selection and management; L. Klotz; Curr Oncol. 2010 Sep; 17(Suppl 2): S11–S17.