Guardian offered a sneak preview of this new technology in early December 2005 at the Radiology Society of North America (RSNA) Conference held in Chicago. RSNA provided the ideal platform for the preview of this new technological breakthrough as it is the largest radiographic conference in the world with an attendance of over 60.000 medical professionals, scientists and administrators. Guardian's research scientists were able to meet with and present to an elite group of top physicists, radiologists, researchers and practitioners from leading corporations and research universities in the health care imaging field.
"Our technology, built on our 3i core imaging analysis engine, seized the attention of some of the top researchers and industry experts attending RSNA", stated Tom Ramsay, Guardian Technologies' Chief Scientist. "They described the potential the technology provides for achieving more accurate diagnoses even with difficult-to-read images, and for reducing the time that is needed to make a diagnosis. The industry is still striving to improve image quality, enhance images and study clarity and provide improved methods for metabolic and physiological data collection and analysis, all in an effort to improve sensitivity and specificity of image detection tools. They were uniformly impressed with Guardian's potential to enhance the practice of radiology."
The 3i technology is able to detect and distinguish different types of organic compounds contained in images from a wide array of sources, including x-ray, CT, and hyper-spectral data types. Since the human body is made of organic compounds, the adaptation of the scientific principles behind Guardian's PinPoint threat detection technology to medical image analysis follows naturally. Guardian has discovered and implemented a method that identifies a unique signature within images - like a latent fingerprint - that is unique to individual types of materials. The two dominant interactions in this process are the photo-electric and Compton effects. Guardian's software decodes the encoded signatures, making accurate identification of specific items within images possible.
Bill Donovan, Guardian's President and Chief Operating Officer, noted: "We are initially addressing the business opportunities for x-ray and pathology-based image processing. The 3i imaging technology combined with our FlowPoint work flow and image management solution is a significant step towards the fulfillment of Guardian's vision for successfully differentiating its product in the medical market. We are particularly focusing on mammography and chest studies, as they represent a significantly large volume of studies performed each year, with an accompanying need for improved diagnostic capabilities."
"With the aging population, health care needs and costs will continue to grow at unprecedented levels. We believe that these factors will drive demand for our FlowPoint and 3i integrated solution for managing cost effective health care delivery. It is our intention to develop products that will address this imaging market which Frost & Sullivan estimates has a market size of more than $100,7 million for Computer Aided Detection (CAD) alone in 2006. They also estimate that this new imaging market is growing by 11,5 percent per year and is expected to reach $155,6 million by the year 2010", Mr. Donovan pointed out.
Guardian has initiated research and development activities focused on the implementation of its new Intelligent Imaging Informatics (3i) technology in the following three health care related areas.
The first one addresses extended visualization imaging tools. There is a broad range of medical imaging modalities that can benefit from the clarification capabilities of the 3i image processing algorithms. These include, but are not limited to, images from digital x-ray, MRI, CT, and ultrasound modalities. Low-resolution images such as those generated from nuclear medicine and PET modalities may especially benefit from these new tools. Research and development activities will be extended to the analysis of the market potential for real-time image clarification in motion analysis in ultrasound, cardiology, and a wide range of neurological surgical procedures from brain to back surgery.
The second area concerns multi-modal synthesis/image fusion. Guardian is integrating various techniques to meld information from multiple image sources, such as x-ray and ultrasound, to create new, enhanced images that provide exceptional clarification of difficult-to-read images. Furthermore, Guardian is exploring image and acoustic synthesis, as well as the synthesis of Guardian's patent pending Reaction-based Imaging Spectroscopy technology with single energy x-ray systems where only density information is available.
Computer Aided Detection or CAD constitutes the third area. Guardian is in the early stages of developing CAD applications within several different modalities and for several different medical areas of need, including mammography, chest study analysis, pathology and histology. Similar to the threat detection capabilities available in Guardian's PinPoint product, the process will automatically outline areas of concern - possible areas of cancer - for the radiologist and/or physician within seconds.
Guardian's 3i technology can potentially detect specific organic items that are minute or that are obscured behind bones or large amounts of tissue to provide earlier and/or more accurate detection and diagnosis of deadly diseases. It also can potentially aid in determining exactly what areas contain cancerous cells in order to minimize the amount to be removed, yet capture all affected cells to prevent its spread.
Guardian Technologies, based in Herndon, Virginia, employs high-performance imaging technologies and advanced analytics to create integrated information management products and services. It primarily focuses on the areas of health care radiology and transportation security scanning. Guardian's products and services automate the processing of large quantities of graphic, numeric, and textual data so organisations can efficiently detect, extract, analyse or effectively act upon the information gleaned from the data. Guardian's solutions are designed to improve the quality and speed of decision-making and enhance organisational productivity and accuracy.