GE and Optellum use AI to diagnose lung cancer

  • December 6, 2021
  • Steve Rogerson

GE Healthcare and Optellum are collaborating to advance precision diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer using artificial intelligence (AI).

GE Healthcare specialises in medical imaging and UK firm Optellum works in AI decision support for the early diagnosis and optimal treatment of lung cancer.

Together, the companies are seeking to address one of the largest problems in the diagnosis of lung cancer, helping providers determine the malignancy of a lung nodule: a suspicious lesion that may be benign or cancerous. Most incidentally detected pulmonary nodules present an indeterminate cancer risk, and are difficult for clinicians to diagnose and manage, leading to delayed treatment for cancer patients and invasive procedures on healthy people.

Optellum’s Virtual Nodule Clinic identifies and scores the probability of malignancy in a lung nodule, which is key to determining whether biopsy is necessary, and accelerating diagnosis. It is the only FDA-cleared AI-assisted diagnosis software for early-stage lung cancer, and has been shown to improve the sensitivity and specificity of malignancy assessments of indeterminate nodules, enabling pulmonologists and radiologists to make better clinical decisions.

The clinician’s AI-assisted diagnosis of malignancy may enable patients whose nodules are not malignant to avoid unnecessary and aggressive procedures such as biopsy and surgical resection, while expediting the diagnostic process and enabling the right treatment to start earlier. This has the potential to provide patients with personalised diagnosis and treatment plans, enabling lung cancer patients to be treated earlier when survival rates are the highest.

GE plans to collaborate with Optellum’s sales team on the distribution of the Virtual Nodule Clinic and work with Optellum to integrate the platform with AI technology powered by GE Healthcare’s Edison platform. In addition, the companies intend to bring results from Optellum’s lung cancer prediction AI into the existing workflow of various GE Healthcare technological pathways, including CT and PACS.

“The precise diagnosis of lung cancer can greatly improve patient prognosis,” said Ben Newton, general manager for oncology at GE Healthcare. “The integration of imaging and medical device data from the Edison platform with AI-enabled solutions like the one offered by the Optellum Virtual Nodule Clinic has the potential to streamline clinician workflows and advance our goal of making precision healthcare, taking the right action at the right time for every patient, at scale, as widely accessible as possible.”

Optellum is a commercial-stage lung health company providing AI decision support software that assists physicians in early diagnosis and treatment for their patients. It has headquarters at the Oxford Centre for Innovation in Oxford, UK, and a US office at the Texas Medical Center in Houston.

“This collaboration is a major step forward for Optellum and the field of thoracic oncology at large,” said Václav Potěšil, chief business officer of Optellum. “GE’s vast clinical network can accelerate deployment of Optellum’s platform and could enable a revolutionary redefinition of early lung cancer treatment for clinicians and patients around the world.”