“AI will revolutionize the prevention and treatment of pancreatic cancer.”
America’s Top Young Scientist winner and seriously impressive 13-year-old, Rishab Jain, on his vision for how AI will help treat this nasty disease in the future. Jain developed an AI algorithm that helps locate and track the pancreas in MR radiotherapy.
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Fujifilm Takes CT Line Stateside
Fujifilm’s US portfolio took a big step this week, launching the company’s first CT system to sell stateside after offering CTs in other regions for some time. The Analogic-based Fujifilm FCT Embrace sports an 85cm wide bore and is offered in 64 and 128 slice configurations (the most slices ever seen on an 85cm bore system), supports both oncology and radiology applications, and lists a range of patient comfort features (wide bore, widest tabletop at 49cm, supports up to 660lbs). The FCT Embrace’s 85cm bore also matches the rotational arc of the linear accelerator, allowing oncology patients to be imaged in their optimal treatment position at full clinical image quality (this has never been done with 64 slice or greater systems). Fujifilm’s first US CT system launches with a pretty attractive feature set, but the FCT Embrace is most notable for its role in expanding the company’s US portfolio.
Philips “Interested” in Agfa
Agfa Healthcare is back at the center of the acquisition rumor mill, and although the latest rumor is just as speculative as the last one, this one seems more feasible. Philips CEO Van Houten re-ignited Agfa acquisition murmurs during the company’s recent earnings call when he said that once Agfa-Gevaert completes the spinoff of its health care business Philips “will certainly look at it (Agfa Healthcare) with interest.” Agfa first revealed plans to spin-off its healthcare business over a year ago and is expected to provide more details on its plans next month, suggesting that acquisition talk may heat up (and get more specific) as we head into 2019.
Samsung’s New Ultrasounds
Samsung Medison introduced its new HERA W10 ultrasound and a prototype of its forthcoming “chair-type” HERA I10 ultrasound system in Singapore this week, both of which are intended for sonographic imaging. The new premium HERA platform that both models are based on leads with its image reconstruction architecture and image quality, as well as its new CrystalLive post-processing engine. The platform allows an 11-fold increase in processing power and 10-times greater data transfer speed compared to Samsung’s previous platform. Although still in development, the “chair-type” HERA W10 is ergonomically designed for Ob/Gyn professionals and patients, reportedly allowing for greater comfort and eliminating the need for patients to change positioning. It’s generally hard to predict how long it takes for Samsung’s new ultrasounds to expand from Asia to Western regions (at least correctly), but we should hear more on the HERA W10 in the coming months.
Philips Updates and Expands Oncology Portfolio
Philips introduced its updated radiation oncology portfolio that includes new CT and MRI RT systems and new adaptive treatment planning software. The updated portfolio is built around Philips’ now-improved Pinnacle Evolution treatment planning software and also includes the vendor’s new Big Bore RT oncology CT simulator (replacing the previous Big Bore CT, with improved image quality) and Ingenia Ambition 3.0T MR-RT and Elition X 1.5T MR-RT imaging systems for MRI-based simulations.
- Varian Medical provided new details on its radiotherapy treatment suite, revealing that it will combine treatment planning, treatment delivery, and patient monitoring. The forthcoming suite will leverage AI-based workflows and incorporate MRI, PET, and CT modalities through the suite’s console, which Varian claims “could transform what (clinicians) can visualize and adapt.”
- A team from MIT developed an MRI sensor that could lead to a minimally-invasive way to detect light or electrical fields in the brain, providing insights into brain activity and the presence of chemicals (e.g. glucose). Monitoring electrical activity in the brain is currently done by the “very invasive” practice of inserting an electrode.
- Novartis will spend a hefty $2.1 billion to buy radiopharmaceutical developer Endocyte, which primarily develops therapeutic radiopharmaceuticals for cancer treatment (the main acquisition driver), but is also developing companion imaging agents that work with its therapeutic drugs.
- Siemens Healthineers is planning to build a $433 million facility in Shanghai where the company will manufacture imaging and laboratory diagnostic systems intended for sale in China and across the Asia Pacific region.
- West Virginia University researchers treated their first Alzheimer’s patient (Judi, a 61-year-old nurse) in their clinical trial using focused ultrasound to open the blood-brain barrier (BBB), reporting that they were able to “safely and successfully” achieve their goal. The researchers are using Insightec’s Exablate Neuro device to temporarily open the BBB in areas of the brain affected by Alzheimer’s disease, evaluating if focused ultrasound reduces the plaques and cognitive decline associated with the disease.
- Major 3rd party servicer, Innovatus Imaging, launched a new iOS/Android mobile app to help imaging service teams diagnose and repair ultrasound probes and MRI coils while on site. The Innovatus Imaging Mobile app will be used to place diagnostic and repair orders in the service queue, view and upload photos of damaged products/parts to support diagnosis, request loaners, chat live with Innovatus team members, and arrange service calls.
- Thirteen years old… That’s the age of 3M Young Scientist Challenge winner, Rishab Jain, who developed a new algorithm that could make it easier to locate and track the pancreas in MR radiotherapy (typically hard to locate). The algorithm achieved a 98.9% success rate detecting the pancreas, earning young Mr. Jain a $25k prize and the title of “America’s Top Young Scientist” in the process.
- Volpara Solutions promoted its Volpara Enterprise cloud platform’s 1 million mammogram milestone by releasing analysis on key weaknesses in mammographic care, created using its million-image dataset. Volpara highlighted several key positioning-related mammogram challenges including inadequate pectoralis muscle present and poor visibility of the inframammary fold (both in MLO views), suggesting that Volpara Enterprise can address these challenges by helping to improve technologist skillsets.
- Radiology informatics company MedQ will provide Availity’s Patient Access and AuthPal services through MedQ’s Q/ris 3000 software. The integration allows Q/ris 3000 to process physician orders, obtain prior authorizations, verify insurance for all diagnostic imaging exams, and calculate imaging costs to help ensure cost transparency. MedQ appears to be Availity’s second radiology informatics partner, after adding Fujifilm in June.
- Cincinnati-based imaging center company, ProScan Imaging, purchased Mayfield Brain & Spine’s imaging clinic in Crestview Hills, Kentucky, giving it 29 imaging centers (in OH, IN, KY, AR, NY, KY, MD, FL). Mayfield Brain & Spine will continue to operate its clinical office in Crestview Hills.
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- This Carestream blog gives us eight good reasons to pre-book a demo with Carestream at RSNA 2018 – or you can just set it up here.
- The Focused Ultrasound Foundation is holding its 6th International Symposium this week, with nearly 250 presentations on the latest research on a wide range of preclinical and clinical focused ultrasound uses.
- Did you know that imaging patients are most likely to no-show for their procedures on Mondays and Fridays? By partnering with Medmo, imaging centers can keep their schedules full, despite the inevitable Friday no-shows.
- This OpenMarkets blog post details the abundance of brand and product options across imaging modalities and how its OpenMarkets Exchange helps medical imaging buyers know their options before they invest.
- POCUS Systems’ forthcoming ultrasounds will combine ease of use, durability, and reliability, allowing clinicians to focus on their patients.