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ISG partners with TRW to expand use of CAD


Firms hope to bring technology to range of modalitiesMedical imaging and PACS software provider ISG Technologies has entered into a strategic partnership with computer-aided diagnosis technology developer TRW Healthcare Solutions. Under the terms

Firms hope to bring technology to range of modalities

Medical imaging and PACS software provider ISG Technologies has entered into a strategic partnership with computer-aided diagnosis technology developer TRW Healthcare Solutions. Under the terms of the agreement, ISG and TRW’s Center for Medical Image Analysis will offer TRW’s CAD technology in conjunction with ISG’s IAP image software platform. The companies will exchange consulting services and jointly market CAD technologies to their respective OEM customers.

While the benefits of CAD in imaging have primarily been promoted for mammography applications, TRW and ISG will also target other imaging modalities. Specific areas of emphasis for application of CAD will be to cardiology studies and CT lung cancer screening, said Bob Mantz, director of business development at TRW’s Center for Medical Image Analysis.

Formed three years ago, TRW’s Center for Medical Image Analysis has been developing CAD technology and image guidance for therapy applications. The center is part of TRW’s Healthcare Solutions unit, which is a division of technology conglomerate TRW. In medical imaging, TRW has been working with CAD mammography workstation developer Scanis of Foster City, CA, since late 1997 (SCAN 10/15/97), providing engineering services such as new product development, testing, and installation for Scanis’s Mammex CAD mammography system. TRW also supplies the training required to use and interpret results provided by Mammex, which highlights suspicious areas on digitized mammograms (SCAN 4/29/98). The system will be delivered for investigational use to Klinik Hirslanden in Zurich, Switzerland, in November.

TRW also has a similar agreement with Computerized Thermal Imaging, an Ogden, UT-based developer of thermal imaging systems. CTI offers a thermal imaging system that monitors the body’s temperature regulatory system to discover anomalies in soft tissue. CTI’s system is now in clinical trials.

When ready, ISG and TRW will partner with OEMs to bring their technology to market, said Loris Sartor, vice president of custom engineering for Mississauga, Ontario-based ISG. In the initial phases, ISG and TRW would provide engineering services to OEMs, assist in developing the application and aid in performing clinical trials. ISG hopes to have a demonstration of the technology at its booth at this year’s RSNA meeting, and also expects to begin a partnership with an OEM over the next several months.

“We have a significant amount of interest from OEMs,” Sartor said. “Scanners are becoming commodities in terms of the hardware, so the CAD software would allow vendors to differentiate themselves from the competition.”

Both firms believe that CAD technology, once seen as a threat by some radiologists and hampered by high costs, is now ready for routine clinical use. The technology is increasingly being viewed as a diagnostic aid by end users, and costs have come down, according to Dr. Robert Cothren, medical technology director of TRW Healthcare Solutions.

“Radiologists are recognizing that CAD is not going to replace them, and that it will allow them to do their jobs faster and more accurately,” Cothren said.

In other ISG news, the company has released post-processing application software to Siemens Medical Systems for use with the Iselin, NJ-based firm’s 3DVirtuoso multimodality medical imaging workstation. Siemens offers the Silicon Graphics-powered 3DVirtuoso as an auxiliary workstation with its scanners. Developed in a collaboration among ISG, Siemens, and other imaging specialists, 3DVirtuoso provides advanced visualization for a range of modalities, including CT, MRI, and 3-D angiography, according to ISG.

3DVirtuoso integrates images to display the spatial relationships of different anatomical structures in an area of interest. These images can then be used for diagnosis and treatment planning, including complex surgical procedures, according to the firm. Post-processing functions now available on 3DVirtuoso include 2-D review, multiplanar reformatting (MPR), filming, archiving, DICOM capabilities, and traditional 3-D image display. First demonstrated as a work-in-progress at the 1998 RSNA meeting, 3DVirtuoso is now available worldwide.

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