Vendors of CAD systems explore opportunities to branch into new areas

January 8, 2004

Now that computer-aided detection systems are becoming essential tools in mammography, vendors are looking for other sectors of the medical imaging market to plumb. CAD makers are developing automated analytical algorithms for CT, MR, and fusion PET/CT

Now that computer-aided detection systems are becoming essential tools in mammography, vendors are looking for other sectors of the medical imaging market to plumb. CAD makers are developing automated analytical algorithms for CT, MR, and fusion PET/CT and expanding from the breast to other anatomic areas, including the lung and colon. The industry may also diversify beyond its core competence of software, as one vendor has added a breast imaging workstation to its product line.

Deus Technologies

The maker of the first automated analytical system to receive premarket approval by the FDA for use in the early detection of lung cancer, Deus Technologies is building on its expertise in lung CAD. In addition to its flagship RapidScreen digital chest CAD system, which was developed in conjunction with GE Medical Systems, Deus showed at the RSNA meeting RapidScreen CAD for severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).

  • RapidScreen CAD system for SARS is designed for use with chest radiographs, differentiating areas filled with fluid from those filled with air. Presented as a response to one of the hot topics at the RSNA meeting, RapidScreen CAD for SARS was generated from an algorithm based on SARS cases in Canada, China, and Hong Kong. The product is expected to be fast-tracked through FDA approval and could become available commercially in the first or second quarter of 2004.

iCAD/CADx

After months of negotiation, two CAD stalwarts have merged. The deal joins companies that have operated on different ends of the CAD continuum: iCAD has concentrated on developing economical products targeted at small breast imaging centers, while CADx has focused on higher end applications. The merger creates a company that will market products across a wide range of CAD offerings, some of which were displayed at the RSNA meeting.

  • CADx released Second Look Version 6.0, which has three different operational points: one to assure the highest sensitivity in the detection of potential breast cancers, another to improve specificity of detection, and a third to optimize both sensitivity and specificity.
  • iCAD showed iQ technology for women's health centers that perform fewer than 20 mammograms per day. The company also presented iAD, which is being incorporated in Fischer Imaging's mammography systems, for centers that perform both film and digital mammography.

R2 Technology

Manifesting its partnering activity with major IT and imaging manufacturers, R2 Technology's CAD offerings for imaging in the breast, lung, and colon were all over the RSNA meeting. The OMNI CAD product lines for mammography as well as CT were shown for the first time in as many as 10 PACS. The company's mammography CAD line was exhibited by major mammography OEMs and by makers of mammography reporting systems. The company also showed additions to its family of CAD products and a series of works-in-progress.

  • An investigational universal breast imaging workstation incorporates software called MeVis Breast Care and R2's CAD applications into a computing platform. The workstation, slated for delivery in early 2004, will incorporate one or more of the company's advanced mammography CAD capabilities. Among these are CAD markers that vary in size depending on the likelihood of their association with breast malignancy and a set of biopsy-proven malignant and benign cases that can be accessed for comparison with current case findings.
  • ImageChecker LX and DX provide cost-effective CAD alternatives to low-volume mammography centers. ImageChecker LX is designed for centers that perform 6000 mammograms per year. It can be configured to provide maximum sensitivity or to reduce the number of false-positive CAD markers that appear. ImageChecker DX is designed for imaging centers that perform up to 10,000 mammograms a year. It can accept full-field digital mammography data from the GE Senographe mammography system. Both products were recently approved by the FDA.
  • An investigational CT Colonography system for detecting colon polyps and masses will be integrated into the ImageChecker CT CAD system.
  • An automated thoracic detection and measurement package for CT is being sold directly by R2 Technology as a stand-alone product in the U.S. and overseas. It also is being marketed to major OEMs for wider distribution.
  • The next-generation CAD system for helping to identify abnormalities on PET/CT is in development.

Vital Images

Best known for its development of the user-friendly Vitrea workstation, Vital Images is branching out. With help from partner R2 Technology, the company has developed a specialized software package with CAD capabilities.

  • A CT lung analysis package integrates the Vitrea advanced imaging software with R2 Technology's ImageChecker CT LN-1000. The system is designed to enhance radiologists' ability to find abnormal pulmonary nodules. It navigates through 3D volume data in real-time and offers intuitive workflow options.

VuComp

Specializing in automated intelligence software, VuComp got its start in military surveillance. At the RSNA meeting, the company displayed its first medical product as an investigational device.

  • M-Vu for mammography includes a scanning station that processes standard mammography films and identifies areas of interest for review by a radiologist.