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IBM uses AI to detect liver cancer

Steve Rogerson
July 25, 2018



IBM is working with French medical imaging company Guerbet to use artificial intelligence to hep doctors detect liver cancer.
 
Guerbet is a specialist in contrast agents for diagnostic and interventional medical imaging. It has signed an exclusive joint development agreement to develop artificial intelligence software in collaboration with IBM Watson Health to support liver cancer diagnostics and care using CT and MRI imaging.
 
Through this collaboration, Guerbet and IBM Watson Health plan to co-develop clinical decision support software. The first, called Watson Imaging Care Adviso for Liver, is planned to be a diagnostic support tool that will use artificial intelligence to automate the detection, staging, tracking, monitoring, therapy prediction and therapy response of primary and secondary liver cancer for clinicians. The IBM Research team will also work on development leveraging prior research innovations.
 
Liver cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death worldwide, and the fastest growing cause of cancer deaths in the USA. About 83 per cent of primary liver cancer cases occur in developing countries. The liver is also a common site for metastases, particularly in the case of digestive cancers, in which nearly half of patients develop metastases. The hope is that better characterisation and earlier identification of these metastases may lead to an improvement in the chances of recovery.
 
“Liver cancer is a growing health concern globally, and the use of augmented intelligence by medical imaging is well positioned to help address it,” said Yves L’Epine, Guerbet’s CEO. “We are proud to work with IBM Watson Health to develop a solution dedicated to liver disease, which could help make it possible for clinicians to make more informed characterisations of tissue without recourse to biopsy.”
 
Care Advisor for Liver will be designed to be compatible with the most common PACS visualisation systems, making it easy to be integrated directly into the workflows of healthcare professionals.
 
“Imaging is a critical area of healthcare where we believe artificial intelligence can be used to expand the physician’s view so they can be more informed in their diagnostic and treatment decisions for their patients,” said Anne Le Grand, vice president of imaging at Watson Health. “We are excited to bring together the significant respective expertise of IBM and Guerbet to advance innovation in this important field, and ultimately help combat the challenge of liver cancer globally.”
 
Care Advisor for Liver will be a part of a family of decision support tools powered by IBM Watson image analytics designed to inform radiologists’ diagnostic decisions for their patients. These offerings are being developed with a shared objective to create insights derived from IBM Watson image analytics to help inform clinical decisions.
 
“We look forward to working with IBM Watson Health on Guerbet’s first project aimed at better assisting radiologists with augmented intelligence,” said François Nicolas, chief digital officer at Guerbet. “This will help us grow our capabilities in AI to enable innovative solutions improving care pathways.”
 
With eight per cent of revenue dedicated to R&D, Guerbet has more than 200 employees distributed among its centres in France, Israel and the USA.