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Tech that analyzes mammography images aims to fine-tune biopsies

A new method for diagnosing breast abnormalities to identify worrisome tumors has received a patent from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

The technology, from Imaging Endpoints, is a radiomic evaluation tool intended for the rapid diagnosis of the nature of a patient’s breast abnormalities, with the capability to use standard mammography images.

The technology can return results in real time, offering a quick evaluation that otherwise has only been available from a biopsy, avoiding the time it takes in obtaining and processing biopsied tissues, the company contends.

This continues a trend toward using artificial intelligence and standard radiological images to facilitate diagnosis of abnormal tissue that could indicate the presence of cancer. For cancer patients, image analysis provides a non-invasive, low-risk approach to assessing tumor biology prior to therapy and an objective pathway for monitoring treatment responses.

The method used by the Imaging Endpoints technology uses signals on image data to detect and characterize tumor biology; it’s based on underlying tumor biology, growth kinetics and other drivers of oncologic transformation that may have novel expression patterns on standard of care radiological images.

When used alone or in combination with other factors, a unique imaging phenotype may be developed to characterize lesions using both qualitative and quantitative approaches, and the biologic processes of tumors may be measured, derived, inferred or predicted with the discovery of imaging phenotypes. Coupling this with imaging’s ability to provide a comprehensive and real-time assessment of the entire tumor and its micro-environment makes quantitative imaging a possible tool for rapid assessment and prognosis.

The new approach has the potential to add more granularity to existing tumor identification approaches, aiming to facilitate more appropriate next-step procedures. For example, the Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System (BI-RADS) was established by the American College of Radiology to assign mammogram screenings into discrete categories of perceived severity. A follow-up biopsy is typically recommended for BI-RADS category 4 and higher. However, biopsies ultimately confirm that many BI-RADS 4 designations are benign—as a result, many women undergo painful and expensive biopsies only to find that the tumor is benign.

Imaging Endpoints currently offers imaging contract research organization (CRO) services for the use of its advanced imaging technologies in clinical trials, and is seeking partners to commercialize its technologies for routine patient care.

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