A “plug and play” method of identifying and quantifying breast cancer cells via AI will soon be available to thousands of pathologists in India and the US.
BreastIHC is an artificial intelligence-based diagnostic software that can detect, quantify and classify breast cancer cells on digital images of tissue samples using a standard computer.
It was created by German AI solutions company Mindpeak in order to improve the speed and reliability of diagnosis and became approved for use in the European Union in May 2021.
Now, thanks to a series of recent partnerships with software companies, the technology will be accessible to many more medical professionals across the globe later this year.
This is a huge leap forward, as without BreastIHC, pathologists have to diagnose cancer as they did a century ago, Carsten Maltzan of Mindpeak told Health Tech World.
“They count out a few hundred cells under the microscope – a strenuous, tedious and often repetitive activity.
“Our software can decisively relieve the experts by preparing and taking over this counting and classification in such a way that pathologists only have to check the result.”
He said this not only allows them to examine “significantly more cases in significantly less time”, but the result is always at a consistently reliable level.
Currently one in two people is expected to develop cancer in their lifetime – with breast cancer being the most common among women.
“The good news is that cancers are becoming increasingly treatable – especially if they are diagnosed early,” Maltzan said.
“Our artificial intelligence can decisively support the cancer experts in their daily routine and accelerate this complex process.”
BreastIHC has been developed to be used immediately by pathologists, laboratories and clinics without any adaptation processes and works reliably with a variety of image material.
Specifically, it can characterise the levels of HER2, Ki-67, oestrogen receptor and progesterone receptor markers that are present, without the need for complex set-up and calibration procedures.
Last year it became the first AI-assisted diagnostic software to receive a CE-IVD designation, allowing it to be legally sold for use in the European Union.
Over the past few years, Mindpeak has continuously expanded its distribution network for its diagnostic software through co-operations and partnerships.
The company announced its latest on February 28 – a cooperation with USA based AI software provider Crosscope to offer BreastIHC in the South Asian region, including India.
“Pathology is on the cusp of digital transformation and Crosscope is very much dedicated to offer end-to-end digital pathology solutions to bridge gaps and usher in a new phase of personalised diagnostics,” Jayendra Shinde, CEO of Crosscope, said in a press release.
“Digitisation of pathology is a key area for the use of AI-based diagnostic algorithms to speed up and improve the diagnosis making an impact in reducing India’s cancer burden.”
Mindpeak also joined with pathology software provider Paige, announcing a partnership just weeks earlier on February 15.
The USA-based company builds computational pathology products to allow patients and their care teams to make effective, more informed treatment decisions.
“Pathologists…will be able to use BreastIHC inside of the Paige platform without having to switch to another system,” Jon Yu, spokesperson for Paige, told Health Tech World.
“This feature will be available to pathologists on the Paige platform starting in Q3 or Q4 of 2022.”
In a press release, Felix Faber, CEO at Mindpeak, said: “This partnership brings us a big step closer to our shared goal of making pathological diagnosis of breast cancer quicker, more accurate and more reproducible.”
A strategic relationship with USA-based software company Gestalt Diagnostic was announced in October 2019.
At the time Lisa-Jean Clifford, Gestalt COO and chief strategy officer, said: “Providing pathologist’s instant access to AI algorithms directly within their workflow not only increases their efficiency, it helps speed the time to diagnosis and ultimately to treatment for cancer patients.
“This can have a significant impact on the pathologist’s turn-around times, accuracy and greatly impact the outcome for individual patients.”
BioReference Laboratories, one of the largest labs in the USA with 19 million patients per year, is now using Gestalt Diagnostic’s digital pathology solution with Mindpeak’s BreastIHC algorithm in routine practice.
Mindpeak, founded by Felix Faber and Dr Tobias Lang, has been developing image analysis software for pathologists based on AI since 2018.