Combination boosts digital XR lung screeningSeven months after announcing a partnership to develop digital CAD for use with GE digital radiography systems, Deus Technologies has unveiled its upgraded CAD system for detecting lung
Combination boosts digital XR lung screening
Seven months after announcing a partnership to develop digital CAD for use with GE digital radiography systems, Deus Technologies has unveiled its upgraded CAD system for detecting lung lesions, RapidScreen Digital.
Deus' film-based RapidScreen RS-2000, which received FDA clearance in July 2001, was not DICOM-compatible. Marketing for the RS-2000 was primarily through distributors and only a handful of systems were sold, said Michael Yeh, president and CEO of the Rockville, MD, company. By comparison, RapidScreen Digital, which was cleared for marketing June 30 this year, is fully DICOM-compatible. It accepts both DR and CR input, can accommodate multiple-input acquisition systems, and minimizes the false-positive rate using DR input.
"With RapidScreen RS-2000, we found out very early that hospitals liked it, but they'd prefer to wait for a version compatible with digital data input," Yeh said.
That version was unveiled July 7 in a joint announcement by GE and Deus. GE has exclusive rights to distribute RapidScreen Digital, which integrates with its digital flat-panel Revolution XR/d and Revolution XQ/I radiography systems. RapidScreen is not, however, embedded in the flat-panel system. The CAD product is also compatible with existing CR systems from GE and other manufacturers, according to Deus.
Marketing initially will focus on GE's existing customer base, primarily hospitals, and will begin immediately. The system will sell for about $60,000. About 200 DR- and 200 CR-compatible units are expected to be sold through 2004. Revenues of about $30 million are anticipated from sale of the product during that period, Yeh said.
Those figures could rise in the coming years. Lung cancer is the leading cancer killer of men and women, and early detection is essential to successful treatment. If RapidScreen Digital performs as hoped, its use as a first-look tumor detection tool could prove vital. Each year, some 71 million chest x-ray exams are performed in the U.S.
Yeh, whose company also is developing CAD for CT, would not predict that RapidScreen Digital could turn the chest imaging tide toward chest radiography and away from CT. Instead, he called it a "first-look" adjunct to the physician examination, while CT remains more of a diagnostic tool.
"CT is just too expensive for routine use in the chest," he said. "I would recommend our tool when a chest x-ray is indicated for any reason."
RapidScreen Digital was first used at University Hospitals of Cleveland and Case Western Reserve University Medical School. Its use by Dr. Robert Gilkeson, director of cardiothoracic imaging, was limited primarily to non-DR input, but he was still impressed by the technology's performance.
"It looks very promising," he said. "We do an awful lot of dual-energy subtraction, and the combination of that with this CAD technique is going to be very exciting."
Like Yeh, Gilkeson predicted RapidScreen Digital would be a first-line tool.
"Up until now, chest radiographs have not been a way of effectively screening for cancer," he said. "But with CAD, I think it's going to be a useful tool for at least improving our sensitivity."
He added that it's too early to tell whether RapidScreen Digital will pull exams away from CT.
GE spokesperson Jennifer A. Christiansen, global communications manager for surgery, x-ray, and interventional imaging, agreed.
"There are multiple government-sponsored studies under way to look at lung cancer patient outcomes using various imaging technologies," she said. "It's our hope that CAD and digital x-ray, with other advanced applications, will be incorporated into these studies."