Virtual Colonoscopy focus of CAD license agreement between R2 Technology and University of Chicago

Chicago 01 December 2003Expanding their relationship to another disease state, R2 Technology Inc., an expert in computer-aided detection (CAD) technology, has signed a license agreement with the University of Chicago Medical Center for work developed in the Department of Radiology, covering the development of CAD tools for the detection of polyps and masses in virtual colonoscopy. The Department of Radiology at the University of Chicago is a recognized pioneer in CAD development. CAD for computed tomography (CT) based virtual colonoscopy is designed to aid in the early detection of pre-cancerous lesions and colon cancer.

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R2's investigational CAD tools for virtual colonoscopy, sometimes known as CT Colonography, were also shown at the 89th Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA), November 30 - December 4. Based on the licensed University of Chicago technology, the R2 CAD tools were showcased in the R2 Technology booth as well as the technical exhibit booths of Voxar, Vital Images, and E-Z-EM.

"For many years, we have focused on research on CAD for various cancers, such as breast and lung cancer, as well as CAD technology for high-performance detection of polyps and masses in virtual colonoscopy", stated Hiroyuki Yoshida, Ph.D., assistant professor, Radiology, University of Chicago, who leads the Colon CAD research group in the department with Abraham Dachman, M.D., professor, Radiology. "As a result, we succeeded in developing an effective and sophisticated colon CAD technology. Clinical evaluation results show great promise for finding polyps larger than 5 mm with high accuracy, with a small number of false positives that can be dismissed by radiologists with little effort."

Colorectal cancer, the third most common cancer diagnosed in men and women in the United States, can be prevented if precursor colonic polyps are detected and removed. Virtual colonoscopy, which is a technique for detecting colorectal neoplasms by use of a CT scan of the gas-filled colon, has been proposed as a promising alternative technique to conventional colonoscopy and barium enema for colon cancer screening.

For virtual colonoscopy to be a practical screening tool, many CT images must be acquired and interpreted rapidly and accurately. CAD for automated detection of polyps and masses in virtual colonoscopy is expected to assist radiologists in detecting polyps and masses quickly and accurately, by providing them with a "second pairs of eyes" regarding the locations of suspicious polyps.

"CAD for the early detection of polyps and masses can be applied to both 2D and 3D images and will be a very powerful tool which will facilitate the transition of virtual colonoscopy to widespread use, where thousands of people may be scanned by CT and radiologists will be overwhelmed by a massive amount of image data", stated Dr. Dachman. "We are very excited that R2 licensed our CAD technology and has made significant progress in the development of a commercial CT Colonography CAD system that will be used to learn how to improve the early detection of colon cancer and eventually reduce the number of deaths from colon cancer."

The investigational software for virtual colonoscopy will be designed for integration into R2's ImageChecker CT CAD system. The ImageChecker CT display workstation, which has 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.

R2 is currently developing CAD and other analytical tools for a variety of CT applications. In October 2003, R2 Technology announced the installation of the world's first ImageChecker CT CAD system at IASO General Hospital in Athens, Greece. This new technology is used to improve the accuracy of lung nodule detection, and in conjunction with the enhanced visualization tools provided by the ImageChecker CT workstation, to improve the productivity of radiologists when reading the large data sets generated with MDCT examinations of the thorax. The ImageChecker CT LN-1000, which includes the CAD software, is pending FDA approval in the United States.

"R2 and the University of Chicago have had a long and fruitful partnership focused on developing CAD applications for mammography. This partnership led to the first FDA approved CAD system for clinical use five years ago. In 2003, some eight million mammograms will be interpreted with the assistance of the ImageChecker CAD system: that's nearly 20 percent of all screening mammograms performed in the United States", stated Michael Klein, president and CEO of R2 Technology. "We are very excited that this latest agreement with the University of Chicago takes us beyond the detection of breast cancer into abdominal imaging. A natural extension of our OmniCAD vision and the ImageChecker CT platform, we are very close to making yet another generation of CAD tools available."

R2 Technology Inc., headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, develops and markets computer-aided detection (CAD), an innovative technology that assists radiologists in the early detection of breast cancer and other abnormalities. As a medical software company, R2 is developing CAD systems for a variety of imaging modalities and disease states. More information on the company is available in the VMW January 2003 article R2 Technology and Chroma Medical Systems develop Computer Aided Detection for virtual colonoscopy.


Leslie Versweyveld

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