“When the first symptoms of lung cancer appear, the disease is already at an advanced stage and the chances of recovery are reduced. Lung cancer is the number one killer of cancer in the world. By detecting it earlier by ‘scan analysis, the mortality rate can drop by 20 to 40%. With our iBiopsy platform, we provide a solution to determine whether the lesions detected are malignant or benign. “, explains Fredrik Brag, Managing Director and Founder of Median Technologies.
The group, located in Sophia Antipolis (Alpes-Maritimes), has formed an initial cohort of 1,800 patients in order to carry out a proof of concept for the early detection of this cancer in populations at risk. “We will publish the first results by the end of 2021”, indicates the leader. Two other pathologies have already been addressed by the company, liver cancer and NASH disease (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease).
The iBiopsy phenomenal imaging platform is based on deep learning technology that relies on cloud computing capabilities. Its algorithms facilitate and accelerate the identification of new biomarkers that “sign” for each patient the presence of the disease and help characterize lesions based on the analysis of chest scan images. These imaging data are linked to other data sources: clinical, histological, etc.
Reveal signs of the disease
For lung cancer, Median Technologies has collected data from more than 17,000 patients from clinical center databases around the world. The first 1,800 patients selected will make it possible to train and validate the algorithms of this LCS (Lung Cancer Screening) early diagnosis solution on which the group has been working for several months.
“Inspired by genome sequencing methods, our platform sequences the image in search of all the signals likely to reveal lung cancer, liver cancer … Usually, the information is sought and provided by carrying out a biopsy, an invasive procedure for the patient. The AI technologies implemented in iBiopsy are 80% common to different pathologies, but 20% are specific to them. “
The group prioritizes its developments in predictive and precision medicine on diseases with heavy human and medical costs for which early detection solutions remain imperfect, complex, or even non-existent. Its objective is on the one hand, to reduce analysis times, on the other hand, to improve the quality of the interpretation of medical images (scanners, MRI, etc.) in order to lead to a more personalized treatment and to better measure its effects over time. More than 60 million people are considered at risk for lung cancer in Europe and the United States.
The screening market would thus be estimated “between 5 and 20 billion dollars, depending on the reimbursement of the diagnostic test”, according to Fredrik Brag. In liver cancer, the 5-year survival rate is only around 15% because this pathology is often detected at an advanced stage. “If we tackle this disease early enough, it is reversible because the liver can regenerate,” he continues. “The challenges of early diagnosis are therefore colossal for patients. But our technologies could also adapt to neurodegenerative diseases. “
The European Investment Bank (EIB) is supporting the iBiopsy program, through a loan of 35 million euros granted within the framework of the Juncker plan (European Fund for Strategic Investments). Clinical partnerships have been concluded with Assistance Publique – Hôpitaux de Paris as well as with biopharmaceutical companies.