Partnership Brings Quantitative Imaging Analysis to Diagnosis, Care

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by Patricia Inacio PhD |

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Quantitative Imaging Analysis

A new collaboration is seeking to bring quantitative imaging analysis to diagnosis and care of patients with chronic lung diseases, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and emphysema.

The agreement is between Spesana, a healthcare platform focused on molecular diagnostics and in building an accessible database for physicians, and Imbio, a company using artificial intelligence (AI) for image analysis of disease biomarkers.

“Imaging biomarkers have the potential to significantly improve patient diagnosis, treatment, and understanding of response to therapy. This partnership, which combines Imbio’s expertise in imaging biomarkers with Spesana’s real world data and Instant Collaborations with molecular and imaging experts, has the potential to further deliver on the promise of more personalized healthcare,” Carla Balch, CEO of Spesana, said in a press release.

Combining clinical data with automated imaging analysis that can quickly assess a patient’s lung features and disease biomarkers should improve diagnosis and patient care, while reducing costs.

Moreover, it can help in early diagnosis, allowing patients to receive the appropriate therapy promptly, which has the potential to reduce the risk of worsening symptoms (exacerbations).

“The Spesana platform offers a unique solution by synthesizing the data for providers, facilitating the right patient to the right care team, and presenting only the information they need when they need it. For Imbio clients, that means patients with lung and cardiothoracic abnormalities can be treated by the right specialist sooner rather than later,” Mike Hostetler, director of marketing and sales of Imbio, said.

Spesana and Imbio will focus first on COPD and emphysema (a form of COPD). While AI analysis can generate complex data, Imbio brings breakthrough image analysis to daily clinical care.

Imbio currently has two commercial computer algorithms for analyzing lung density, including a complete mapping of normal lungs, air-trapping and areas of persistent low density, which may be indicative of disease. A third algorithm can perform a lung texture analysis using a standard chest CT scan, identifying areas of scarring (fibrosis).

“Imaging AI can and does generate additional, and sometimes intimidating, but valuable information,” said  Hostetler. “The challenge for caregivers and health systems is ingesting and acting on all of that new information, and then translating that to serving patients detected by radiology’s broader adoption of imaging AI.”

According to Spesana, in 2020 COPD cost the U.S. health industry an estimated $49 billion, with hospitalization costs representing 45–50% of COPD-related healthcare expenditures.