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IBM Watson and Guerbet are pairing up
to create an AI-based solution for
liver cancer detection

Guerbet and IBM Watson to develop AI-based liver diagnostics solution

by John R. Fischer , Staff Reporter
Detecting liver cancer is often a difficult task and one that only occurs when the disease has reached an advanced stage, limiting treatment options and efficiency as well as life expectancy.

IBM Watson Health and Guerbet are hoping to change this through the joint development of Watson Imaging Care Advisor for Liver, an AI-based platform designed to support liver diagnostics in CT and MR imaging.

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“We have made progress in cancer care over time, but liver cancer continues to be a global challenge, as the second leading cause of cancer death,” Steve Tolle, VP of strategy and business development at Watson Health Imaging, told HCB News. “Patients at risk for liver cancer often have underlying existing health conditions or liver disease that makes identification of cancerous tumors difficult. The aim is to build imaging analytics tools that help radiologists track changes to the liver in high risk patients to aid in the identification of liver cancer.”

Nearly 50 percent of patients develop metastases in the liver, the most common site for such growths, particularly in cases of digestive cancers. The rate of primary liver cancer cases is especially high in the developing world at 83 percent.

Utilizing AI, the platform will automate detection, staging, tracking, monitoring, therapy prediction and therapy response for primary and secondary liver cancer, enhancing characterization and the chance for earlier identification of metastases to improve chances of recovery.

Development of the French-American solution will be carried out by the IBM research team and leverage prior research innovations alongside Guerbet’s global and clinical expertise in contrast agents and interventional radiology.

It also will be compatible with the most common PACS visualization systems, enabling simple integration directly into the workflows of healthcare professionals.

“There is no existing routine liver cancer screening program as there is for breast, prostate or lung cancer. As a result, liver cancer is often caught at an advanced stage,” said Tolle. “The joint development effort aims to help identify patients that may benefit from focused liver imaging, by taking a ‘second look’ at other abdominal imaging where the liver may be visible in the image.”

Watson Imaging Care Advisor for Liver is one of a number of decision support tools in development to assist radiologists in making diagnostic decisions for their patients with clinical insights derived from IBM Watson image analytics.

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