Korea’s Lunit uses AI to evaluate X-ray images and mammograms

COVID-19 testing has placed a high demand on resources — from testing and screening to treating and caring. Lunit has created an AI-based system to detect pneumonia, often present in COVID-19 infected patients, within seconds.

Its Lunit INSIGHT CXR system uses AI to quickly detect 10 different radiological findings on chest X-rays, including pneumonia and potentially cancerous lung nodules.

Results are overlaid onto the X-ray image along with a probability score for the finding. The system also monitors progression of a patient’s condition, automatically tracking changes within a series of chest X-ray images taken over time.

The South Korea startup has teamed up with GE Healthcare, which launched its Thoracic Care Suite using Lunit INSIGHT CXR’s AI algorithms to flag abnormalities on chest X-rays for radiologists’ review. This is one of the first collaborations to bring AI from a medical startup to an existing X-ray equipment manufacturer, making AI-based solutions commercially available.

For integration of its algorithms with GE Healthcare and other partners’ products, Lunit’s hardware is powered by NVIDIA Quadro P1000 GPUs. Its AI model is optimised on the NVIDIA Jetson TX2i module. For cloud-based deployment, the company uses NVIDIA drivers and GPUs.

Beauty of AI

According to Brandon Suh, CEO of Lunit, the beauty of AI is its ability to process vast amounts of data and discover patterns — augmenting human ability, in terms of time and energy.

Initially, Lunit’s products were focused on detecting potentially cancerous nodules in a patient’s lungs or breasts, as well as analysing pathology tissue slides.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic provided an opportunity to upgrade the algorithms being used to help alleviate the burdens of healthcare professionals on the frontlines of the pandemic.

“The definitive diagnosis for COVID-19 involves a polymerase chain reaction test to detect antigens, but the results take 1-2 days to be delivered. In the meantime, the doctors are left without any clinical evidence that can help them make a decision on triaging the patients,” said Suh.

Instant diagnosis

With its newly refined algorithm, Lunit INSIGHT CXR can single out pneumonia and identify it in a patient within seconds, helping doctors make immediate, actionable decisions for those in more urgent need of care.

The Lunit INSIGHT product line, which provides AI analysis for chest X-rays and mammograms, has been commercially deployed and tested in more than 130 sites in countries such as Brazil, France, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, South Korea, and Thailand.

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