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IBM Watson and Guerbet Want to Tackle Prostate Cancer Diagnosis with AI

Villepinte, France-based Guerbet is working with Cambridge, MA-based IBM Watson Health to co-develop an AI solution for prostate cancer diagnosis and monitoring. The agreement is similar to a 2018 agreement the two companies signed for liver cancer.

Anne Le Grand (left), general manager of imaging, life sciences, and oncology at IBM Watson Health, shakes hands with Guerbet CEO Yves L’Epine (right), at the collaboration signing.

Image courtesy of IBM Watson Health

Guerbet has landed a second co-development agreement with IBM Watson Health. This time around, the two companies will develop an artificial intelligence tool to help clinicians detect, segment, characterize, and monitor prostate cancer.

“The main diagnostic challenge with prostate cancer lies in identifying cancers requiring rapid treatment and those requiring only active surveillance while avoiding unnecessary biopsies," said David Gruen, MD, chief medical officer of imaging at IBM Watson Health. “For this reason, optimal patient outcomes depend on the rapid and accurate diagnosis and treatments that AI technologies can potentially help provide."

Guerbet and IBM first joined forces in July 2018 to develop an AI program for diagnosing and monitoring patients with liver cancer. Based in the northeast suburbs of Paris, France, Guerbet specializes in contrast agents and solutions for diagnostic and interventional medical imaging.

Francois Nicolas, the chief digital officer at Guerbet, said the companies will be leveraging progress made under the initial liver collaboration for the purposes of this second project in prostate cancer.

“We are excited to further strengthen our partnership with Guerbet that has already been active in liver cancer”, said Anne Le Grand, General Manager, Imaging, Life Sciences and Oncology, IBM Watson Health. “This AI solution for prostate will be one in a range of decision-support solutions using Watson image analysis, that may potentially help radiologists and oncologists to diagnose conditions and make clinical decisions with patients.”

The AI solution for prostate will be designed for compatibility with most PACS (Picture Archiving and Communication System) visualization systems, which will make its direct integration into the workflows of healthcare professionals that much easier, the companies noted.

“The aging of our population has made prostate cancer a global public health problem. Some prostate cancers warrant active therapeutic management while others require only regular monitoring," said Yves L’Epine, CEO of Guerbet. "Augmented intelligence can help enable doctors to diagnose these different cases more rapidly and more accurately, thus helping to potentially reduce the number of unnecessary biopsies and allowing them to propose the most appropriate therapeutic strategy for each patient."

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