R2 Technology and Chroma Medical Systems develop Computer Aided Detection for virtual colonoscopy

Chicago 04 December 2002R2 Technology Inc., specialised in computer-aided detection (CAD), has signed a product development and license agreement with Chroma Medical Systems Inc. for the development of CAD for computed tomography (CT) based virtual colonoscopy, sometimes known as CT colonography. The companies have already showed prototypes at the 87th Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).


"Pursuing a CAD solution for colon cancer is a natural extension of R2's OmniCAD technology vision, that of offering universal, interoperable and clinically relevant solutions for improving the detection of cancer and other diseases", stated Michael Klein, president and CEO of R2 Technology. "Volumetric visualisation tools provide the ability to efficiently display the high volume of images acquired for a virtual colonoscopy examination, but computer-aided detection is needed to identify regions of interest in the colon and display them in such a way to help the radiologist to make an assessment."

Under the multi-year agreement, Chroma Medical Systems will develop CAD software for the detection of colon cancer. R2 Technology will license Chroma's colon CAD software for integration into R2's investigational ImageChecker CT CAD system. R2 is currently developing CAD and other analytical tools for CT. Initially, the ImageChecker CT system will provide CAD for CT images of the lung, helping clinicians not only with detection of lung nodules, but with tools to enhance their work flow as well. Other CT applications, such as colon, and other modalities, like projection chest, are planned to follow in subsequent releases.

"We are excited to work with R2 Technology in this initiative", explained Lou Rivelli, CEO of Chroma Medical Systems. "We believe this will be a showcase application for our technology. R2 is a world leader in the commercialisation of CAD, and adding Chroma's 3D CAD system will further extend their ability to help radiologists provide comprehensive cancer detection for their patients."

The ImageChecker CT display workstation, which recently received 510(k) clearance from the Food and Drug Administration, is a combination of dedicated computer software and hardware, providing tools for radiologists to aid in the review of CT exams. The workstation receives CT exams and DICOM structured reports of CAD-identified areas using DICOM protocols. After review of each exam, radiologists can view screens that summarise their findings, and save to a local database in the workstation for later review.

Excluding skin cancers, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in men and women in the United States. The American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates that about 107.300 new cases of colon cancer and 41.000 new cases of rectal cancer will be diagnosed in 2002. Colon cancer is expected to cause about 48.100 deaths during 2002 and an estimated 8500 men and women will die from rectal cancer during 2002.

The ACS indicates that the five-year relative survival rate is 90 percent for people whose colorectal cancer is treated in an early stage, before it has spread. But only 37 percent of colorectal cancers are found at that early stage. Once the cancer has spread to nearby organs or lymph nodes, the five-year relative survival rate drops to 65 percent. For people whose colorectal cancer has spread to distant parts of the body, such as the liver or lungs, the five-year relative survival rate is eight percent.

As a pioneer in CAD, R2's ImageChecker CAD system for mammography has shown the potential to detect findings that might otherwise be overlooked during the review process, and at an earlier stage. In fact, clinical trials demonstrated that use of the ImageChecker system for mammography could result in earlier detection of up to 23,4 percent of the cancers currently detected with screening mammography in those women who had a prior screening mammogram 9-24 months earlier. CAD is analogous to a spellchecker system on a personal computer and is used by increasing numbers of radiologists as "a second pair of eyes" when reading a mammogram.

Chroma Medical Systems Inc. (CMS), a privately held corporation located in Boulder, Colorado, is a provider of proprietary software to screen for cancer by analysing medical images, with an initial focus on screening CT images for colorectal cancer and pre-cancerous polyps. At the core of the software is a patented and proven pattern recognition and visualisation technology called ImageGenetics, which has already been applied successfully in enabling rapid and accurate interpretation of multi-dimensional seismic data for oil and gas exploration.

R2 Technology Inc., headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, is a recognised leader in the development and commercialisation of computer-aided detection (CAD), an innovative technology that assists radiologists in the early detection of breast cancer and other cancer-related lesions. R2's CAD software has been integrated with the ImageChecker processing and visual display system, and is being successfully used by hospitals and imaging centres as an aid to radiologists for increased detection of breast cancer.

To date, more than 700 ImageChecker systems for use with film and digital-based mammography have been shipped worldwide. As a medical software company, R2 is developing CAD systems for a variety of imaging modalities and disease states, including lung cancer.

Leslie Versweyveld

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