IBM Watson, Guerbet expand cancer imaging partnership

IBM Watson Health's general manager of imaging for life sciences and oncology, Anne Le Grand (left), after signing the new partnership with Guerbet Group CEO Yves L'Epine (Image courtesy of IBM)

IBM Watson Health has inked its second collaboration with Guerbet, the French maker of diagnostic imaging agents, to help develop artificial-intelligence-powered methods for diagnosing and monitoring prostate cancer. 

The deal follows on from a similar software collaboration in liver cancer launched last year that aims to detect, characterize and monitor lesions over time. 

"The main diagnostic challenge with prostate cancer lies in identifying cancers requiring rapid treatment and those requiring only active surveillance, while avoiding unnecessary biopsies,” David Gruen, IBM Watson Health’s chief medical officer for imaging, said in a statement

"For this reason, optimal patient outcomes depend on the rapid and accurate diagnosis and treatments that AI technologies can potentially help provide," Gruen added. 

The two companies cited a study published in The Lancet showing that, through the use of multiparameter MRI scans, 27% of unnecessary prostate biopsies could be avoided and 18% of previously unseen cancers could be detected.

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"With IBM Watson Health, we will be leveraging progress made under the initial liver collaboration for the purposes of this second project dedicated to prostate cancer, with the same aim of delivering augmented intelligence to help radiologists and oncologists,” said Guerbet’s chief digital officer, François Nicolas.

The new AI solution will aim to be compatible with most picture archiving and communication systems used in hospital workflows while being one in a range of decision support solutions using Watson’s image analysis software.