Aiforia AI improves Pathan diagnostics

  • February 1, 2021
  • Steve Rogerson

Helsinki-based Aiforia is helping Pathan, one of the largest pathology laboratories in the Netherlands, use artificial intelligence assisted diagnostics.

Aiforia is a software company providing artificial intelligence (AI) for medical image analysis. The aim of the partnership is to build clinically validated AI models to assist pathologists with primary diagnostics, enhancing laboratory workflows to make faster and better informed decisions to improve patient care.

Pathologists around the world are facing an increasing burden as rates of disease continue to rise as a result of a higher life expectancy worldwide. Meanwhile the methods these healthcare professionals currently rely on are manual, sometimes time-consuming, and subject to a certain degree of bias.

Pathan’s pathologists alone handle about 110,000 requests a year. After adopting digital pathology in their lab to digitise their analysis, they are ready to add AI to this workflow to optimise their output.

“With this collaboration, Pathan’s aim is to better understand the opportunities that AI can offer in the future organisation of the diagnostic process, especially given the fact that the number of oncology patients will increase substantially over the next twenty years,” said Arlinke Bokhorst, director of Pathan. “With AI, Pathan expects to support pathologists with a toolbox of routine assessments, measures and recognition options to optimise their diagnostic workflow.”

AI excels at image analysis, with the potential to surpass human capabilities in speed and accuracy. The Aiforia platform brings deep learning AI straight to the hands of medical experts with its intuitive software. Pathologists can create AI models to analyse images from any sample or disease, for example breast cancer, improving the accuracy and speed of analysis while producing quantitative and reproducible results for clinicians.

The Pathan pathologists are working closely with Aiforia’s team of scientists to use software to build clinical grade algorithms, or AI models, aiming to be one of the first to receive CE-IVD marking for these clinical applications.

Pathan starts out with the development and the routine use of relatively simple algorithms, for instance algorithms that aid in screening digital histological slides for focal abnormalities, such as helicobacter or acid-fast bacteria. Later on they expect to develop more complex algorithms, for instance ones that aid in tumour grading, quantitative assessment of immunohistochemical stains or screening for angioinvasion.

“This is an exciting step for Aiforia, if not the most exciting,” said Kaisa Helminen, chief operating officer of Aiforia. “Through this collaboration we are able to bring the latest advances in technology to the daily clinical laboratory practice and ultimately influence patient care by helping pathologists make speedier, more consistent and accurate decisions.”

Pathan handles more than 110,000 histological requests per year, and delivers services to regional GPs, private clinics and five regional hospitals in the Rotterdam and Zeeland area.

Aiforia equips pathologists and scientists in preclinical, academic and clinical labs with deep learning AI and cloud-based technology to increase the speed, accuracy and consistency of analysing large and complex medical images across fields from oncology to neuroscience.