In 2017, the Center for Disease Control reported the Cancer was the second most common cause of death in the U.S., trailing only behind heart disease. Together, the two illnesses cause 46% of American deaths.
The disease itself grows and affects the body in stages, becoming more dangerous and uncontrollable over time. The most popular forms of treatment such as chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, immunotherapy, and transplants are not ideal experiences nor are they always effective. The most positive prognoses usually require early diagnoses.
According to Fast Company, QuantX will be the first “computer-aided breast cancer diagnosis system cleared by the FDA for use in radiology.” Developed by Paragon Biosciences and Qlarity Imaging, the QuantX system led to a 39% reduction in missed breast cancers, as well as a 20% overall diagnostic improvement in a clinical study.
Despite the giant leap in automated radiology, the developers reassure radiologists that they are essential to the use of the AI-software and will not be losing their jobs anytime soon. “Radiology is the backbone of diagnosing many diseases today,” explains Jeffrey Aronin, chairman and CEO of Paragon Biosciences. “We believe the future is radiologists with technology” as opposed to technology operating autonomously.
“Today, about 30 million women are screened for breast cancer each year in the U.S., and we all have women in our lives who have to go through this,” says Meghan Harrison, head of product and COO at Qlarity Imaging. Often, initial screening will detect a lump with cancer potential that needs to be assessed using other technology and a few other pairs of eyes, turning the patient at hand into a ball of anxiety for hours or days until the new results come back.
“The process of going through that biopsy, waiting for your procedure to be scheduled, waiting for your results can create a lot of anxiety with those women,” Harrison says. “And yet 75% of those biopsies come back negative, meaning no cancer was found. We believe that Qlarity can do better, help radiologists make better diagnoses with our software. We can help them deliver better patient care.”
QuantX was developed at the University of Chicago based on research led by Dr. Maryellen L. Giger. The project was incubated at Quantitative Insights, a startup launched with help from the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Qlarity is working to roll out the software at the MD Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas and the University of Chicago, and hopes to expand the technology’s abilities from breast cancer detection to every corner of oncological diagnosis.