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EIT Health partners unite to advance lung cancer diagnosis

6th December 2021

EIT Health partners, GE Healthcare and Optellum, have joined forces to advance lung cancer diagnosis with artificial intelligence (AI). They recently signed a letter of intent to collaborate to advance precision diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer.

GE Healthcare is a global leader in medical imaging solutions. Optellum is the leader in AI decision support for the early diagnosis and optimal treatment of lung cancer. Business leaders from both companies have attended EIT Health start-up competitions and events, strengthening connections between the two companies.

Through their collaboration, the companies are seeking to address one of the largest challenges in the diagnosis of lung cancer: determining whether a lung nodule is benign or cancerous. The majority of incidentally detected pulmonary nodules present an indeterminate cancer risk. They are incredibly challenging for clinicians to diagnose and manage. This leads to delayed treatment for cancer patients and invasive procedures on healthy people.

Optellum’s Virtual Nodule Clinic identifies and scores the probability of malignancy in a lung nodule, which is key to determining whether biopsy is necessary, and accelerating diagnosis. It is the world’s first FDA-cleared AI-assisted diagnosis software for early-stage lung cancer, as we reported earlier this year.

The technology has been shown to improve the sensitivity and specificity of malignancy assessments of indeterminate nodules[1]. The clinician’s AI-assisted diagnosis of malignancy may enable patients whose nodules are not malignant to avoid unnecessary and aggressive procedures such as biopsy and surgical resection.

This development could expediate the diagnostic process and enable the right treatment to start earlier, providing patients with personalised diagnosis and treatment plans. Ultimately, this could enable lung cancer patients to be treated at the earliest possible stage when survival rates are the highest. When diagnosed at its earliest stage, almost 57% of people with lung cancer will survive their disease for five years or more, compared with only 3% when the disease is diagnosed at the latest stage.[2]

“The precise diagnosis of lung cancer can greatly improve patient prognosis,” said Ben Newton, General Manager, Oncology Solutions, at GE Healthcare. “The integration of imaging and medical device data from the Edison Platform with AI-enabled solutions like the one offered by the Optellum Virtual Nodule Clinic has the potential to streamline clinician workflows and advance our goal of making precision healthcare, taking the right action at the right time for every patient, at scale, as widely accessible as possible.”

“This collaboration is a major step forward for Optellum and the field of thoracic oncology at large,” commented Václav Potěšil, PhD, Founder and Chief Business Officer of Optellum. “GE’s vast clinical network can accelerate deployment of Optellum’s platform and could enable a revolutionary redefinition of early lung cancer treatment for clinicians and patients around the world.”

We are delighted to see two EIT Health partners join forces to transform lung cancer diagnosis and treatment in this way. Through our partner network, EIT Health is empowering a network of innovators to take action to put life-changing products and services into people’s hands. Learn more about our partners.

  1. Atsjournals.org. 2021. Assessing the Accuracy of a Deep Learning Method to Risk Stratify Indeterminate Pulmonary Nodules | American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. [online] Available at: <https://www.atsjournals.org/doi/full/10.1164/rccm.201903-0505OC> [Accessed 6 December 2021].

  2. Mirsadraee, S., 2021. The 7th lung cancer TNM classification and staging system: Review of the changes and implications.

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