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Medical imaging solutions firm Guerbet has partnered with IBM Watson Health to develop and commercialise an artificial intelligence (AI)-based solution to diagnose prostate cancer.

Furthermore, the medical imaging technology will help stratify, characterise and monitor lesions over time. The companies expect the AI solution to facilitate quick and informed diagnoses.

Statistics reveal more than 10% increase in MRIs each year for prostate cancer, the most commonly identified cancer type in men.

According to a previous Lancet clinical study, 27% of biopsies could be avoided, with the identification of 18% unseen cancers using multiparameter MRI.

IBM Watson Health Imaging chief medical officer David Gruen said: “The main diagnostic challenge with prostate cancer lies in identifying cancers requiring rapid treatment and those requiring only active surveillance, while avoiding unnecessary biopsies.

“For this reason, optimal patient outcomes depend on the rapid and accurate diagnosis and treatments that AI technologies can potentially help provide.”

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The AI solution will leverage Watson image analysis to support the diagnosis and clinical decisions of radiologists and oncologists.

It will be designed for use with the majority of the Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS) visualisation systems, allowing direct and easy integration into healthcare workflows.

Guerbet CEO Yves L’Epine said: “Some prostate cancers warrant active therapeutic management while others require only regular monitoring.

“Augmented intelligence can help enable doctors to diagnose these different cases more rapidly and more accurately, thus helping to potentially reduce the number of unnecessary biopsies and allowing them to propose the most appropriate therapeutic strategy for each patient.”

Guerbet and IBM Watson Health previously formed an alliance in July last year for an AI programme to diagnose and monitor liver cancer.