ContextVision AB (OSE: COV), the medical imaging software company, has together with its academic partner been awarded a research grant of € 683,000 for a research program aimed at developing new imaging technology within prostate cancer and digital pathology. The technology under development is expected to expand ContextVision’s market footprint significantly.
The research program is a joint project with a team of researchers at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland (HES-SO) in Sierre.
As previously announced, ContextVision is in the process of broadening the Company’s technology platform. ContextVision aims at reinforcing its market position within the Company’s current medical image analysis and enhancement business, as well as introducing ContextVision’s technology in entirely new markets. The expanded technology platform will position the Company in markets with total sales of SEK 1,500 million by 2018. The current available market is around SEK 180 million.
A key area addressed by ContextVision’s technology expansion is digital pathology. The grant from Eureka and EU’s Eurostars program supports a three-year research project in this area. The image analysis software developed will be applied to digital pathology, in order to support rapid and accurate diagnosis of cancer. The research program includes the latest technology for pattern recognition and machine learning. The commercial potential is significant, and will be identified in more detail as the project moves forward.
The collaboration between ContextVision and HES-SO, considered an academic leader in the field, was established last year and pilot studies have been performed during 2015.
The global shortage of qualified pathologists causes unnecessary long lead times and creates a risk of reduced quality of patient care, despite improved cancer treatments. Furthermore, the number of cancer patients is increasing, mainly due to an ageing population. The adoption of digital pathology across the globe, enables improved workflow and provides a platform for computer-based diagnosis and prognostication.
“Developing efficient systems for diagnosis and prognostication is of vital importance. Improving efficiency and accuracy in the diagnosis and follow-up of cancer will benefit patients and the entire therapy chain,” said ContextVision CEO Anita Tollstadius.
The initial focus of the research program at hand will be prostate cancer. The disease represents a considerable workload for the pathologists worldwide. The process of separating slow-growing prostate cancer from more aggressive types is currently very challenging. Additional cancer areas will be addressed in the next steps of the research program.
For further information, please contact ContextVision’s CEO, Anita Tollstadius, telephone +46 70 337 3026.
About digital pathology
Histopathology is a medical discipline for the evaluation of abnormalities in tissue samples. For example a lot of biopsies are taken to diagnose cancer or to evaluate the stage of cancer. Digital pathology is a young and rapidly growing market. Instead of looking into a microscope, using digitalized images the pathologists can review the slides on a computer screen from anywhere. The shortage of pathology specialists is driving the market, as images can be distributed to any workstation over the Internet.
About prostate cancer
Prostate cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among men. The severity of prostate cancer is determined from tissue samples using Gleason grading by a pathologist using microscopic images of histological sections from biopsy or radical prostatectomy material. Gleason grading is highly subjective with significant variation between experienced pathologists; studies show that both intra- and inter-observer variations can be as high as 30-40%. Despite attempts to reach a consensus regarding the subjective rules for quantification, none have been adopted. As a result about 70% of patients with localized prostate cancer receive aggressive treatment that does not prolong life but often results in debilitating side effects.
ContextVision’s technology provides doctors with improved images, which are crucial for accurate diagnosis and treatment. ContextVision is the industry leader in medical imaging analysis and enhancement software, with more than 150,000 installations worldwide through its OEM customers. The company started out as an industry pioneer more than 30 years ago, and is today developing the next generation of medical imaging software for 2D/3D/4D ultrasound, MRI, X-Ray, mammography and CT. ContextVision is based in Sweden and listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange under the ticker COV. For more information, please visit www.contextvision.com.
Haute Ecole Spécialisée de Suisse occidentale (the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland; HES-SO) in Sierre includes an eHealth unit at the university’s information systems research institute. The eHealth unit that works in several areas of applied research projects. HES-SO has a unique expertise in content-based visual information and image retrieval. Previously, HES-SO has developed part of the Khresmoi system, a multi-lingual multi-modal search and access system for biomedical information and documents. Khresmoi is applied in medical imaging and represents a basis for pathology applications. Visual features and feature modelling in combination with machine learning have led to several successful applications, also to histopathology.