The U.S. FDA has granted 510(k) clearance to Siemens Healthineers AG for AI-Rad Companion Organs RT, the newest module in its platform of artificial intelligence-based software assistants. The radiation therapy planning aide joins earlier AI-Rad Companion modules for interpreting magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies of the brain and prostate, as well as one for chest computed tomography (CT) studies.
As the newest component in intelligent software assistance, AI-Rad Companion Organs RT leverages deep-learning AI algorithms to automatically contour at-risk organs on CT scans during radiation therapy planning and help clinicians deliver more targeted, precision medicine to their patients.
Clinicians use organ contouring to ensure that targeted organs get the optimal radiation dose while minimizing exposure to healthy tissue. Traditionally, that has been done manually, a time-consuming process that requires slice by CT slice to characterize the area targeted for treatment.
By contrast, Organs RT “provides the radiation therapist with AI-powered organ contouring for a potentially significant reduction in turnaround time,” said Peter Shen, vice president of innovation and digital business at Siemens Healthineers North America (RSNA). Anecdotally, customers already using the module outside the U.S. have seen their contouring time decline from around 20 minutes to just a few minutes.
Siemens developed and trained the algorithms for the new module with the aid of the same large, in-house supercomputer used to fuel the other AI-Rad Companion modules. The supercomputer includes a repository of nearly a billion curated studies.
“The other added benefit that we’re starting to see is not only this efficiency piece, but the consistency aspect as well,” he told BioWorld. With the automated solution, which eliminates human variation, “we’re now achieving more consistent and high-quality contouring of the different organs, which makes it more consistent from a treatment standpoint.”
The new module extends the applications for the AI-Rad Companion platform, which already included AI-Rad Companion Brain MR for morphometry analysis and AI-Rad Companion Prostate MR for biopsy report – FDA-cleared in side-by-side decisions in August – and AI-Rad Companion Chest CT for lung and computed tomography interpretation. The entire AI-Rad Companion family is currently CE-marked.
“AI-Rad Companion Organs RT reinforces the multimodality and multiorgan approach that Siemens Healthineers has employed with our rapidly expanding AI-Rad Companion family of intelligent software assistants.”
Organs RT is available immediately on the company’s teamplay cloud-based digital health platform. As with the other units in the A-Rad Companion family, it integrates seamlessly into the clinical workflow and is DICOM (digital imaging and communications in medicine) compliant.
The new module is priced to be competitive to enable broad customer adoption. That, along with the time savings they could potentially realize and the efficiency and standardization, should make it an attractive option for potential users, Shen said.
Initial interest in Organs RT has been strong, he added. “What’s unique about this is that with the multiorgan applications, not only are we looking at just the prostate, for example, but it’s also the lungs, the abdomen, head and neck areas [and] breast. And then within each of those particular anatomical areas, you’ve got the ability to contour all the different organ segments in that area.” In head and neck, for example, it’s possible to contour organs as diverse as the skin, the skeleton, brain stem, the eyes and larynx, he said.
More AI-Rad Companion modules in its pipeline
Shen declined to provide specifics, but said Siemens is in the process of submitting for FDA clearance of several other modules and is showcasing some prototypes with other anatomical targets. “We are developing more and more modules that are focused on multimodalities, so MR, general X-ray … and then multiorgan” applications, he said. “In the future, we’re also looking at other areas that are either cardiac or neuro-related.”
Other product launches
AI-Rad Companion Organ RT is one of five products Siemens Healthineers introduced Sunday at the virtual Radiological Society of North America meeting. The Erlangen, Germany-based company also debuted the Luminos Lotus Max, a two-in-one remote-controlled imaging system designed to seamlessly integrate fluoroscopic and radiographic imaging for more versatile clinical use. A software package on enhanced patient care allows clinicians to minimize radiation dose without lowering image quality.
The company also launched Cios Flow, a mobile C-arm to improve the ease and boost efficiency of imaging workflows for surgical interventions.
And it unveiled two new digital radiography (DR) systems. Multix Impact C is a ceiling-mounted digital radiography system, while Multix Impact Va20 is a new iteration of Siemens Healthineers’ floor-mounted parent DR system. Both systems include Myexam Companion user interface to help technologists skillfully navigate a radiography procedure.