Optellum, headquartered in the U.K., introduced its artificial intelligence-powered lung cancer diagnosis tool to the Northeast U.S. by way of AtlantiCare in Egg Harbor Township.
The interventional pulmonology team at the AtlantiCare Lung Nodule Clinic, led by Dr. Amit Borah, was the first in the Northeast to use Optellum’s Virtual Nodule Clinic, according to a Feb. 23 announcement from the health care provider.
The technology can help physicians identify and track patients at risk for lung cancer – early – so they can biopsy concerning lesions and start treatments sooner.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of deaths from cancer in New Jersey, according to the state Department of Health. And although the state has made progress on its early diagnosis rate, “it still has a lot of work to do to make sure that more of those at high risk for lung cancer are screened,” according to the American Lung Association.
“Early-stage lung cancer symptoms are often vague or mimic those of other illnesses,” Borah said in a statement. “Through this technology, we are detecting suspicious nodules at earlier stages than ever, which is so critical to saving lives.”
Optellum says it is the only medical tech company to obtain clearance by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for this type of software.
During a CT scan performed at AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center, the Optellum AI technology will send an alert to the interventional pulmonology team if it detects a nodule.
“This could be any patient whose scan shows the lungs or a portion of the lungs,” Borah explained. “We follow up with the patient and the patient’s primary care and other providers. We then determine whether the individual can benefit from robotic bronchoscopy to biopsy and/or treat the nodule at its earliest stages – before cancer spreads or a nodule becomes cancerous.”
Additionally, because AtlantiCare also employs Ethicon’s Monarch robotic bronchoscopy platform, which was acquired by New Brunswick-based Johnson & Johnson in 2019, the team can offer patients early and minimally invasive biopsies to find “the smallest and hardest to reach tumors.”
Another benefit of the Optellum technology is its integrated Lung Cancer Prediction capability, which allows the health care team to prioritize patients at high risk of having lung cancer.
“We have already identified suspicious tumors in individuals who have no known risk of lung cancer through this technology,” Borah said.
Since the team began using the technology, it has identified about 50 out of 300 patients who had lesions that need close surveillance.
Optellum founder and Chief Business Officer Václav Potěšil added, “Our collaboration with AtlantiCare is noteworthy because we added a new healthcare system to our growing network, where we can work closely with the interventional pulmonology team to evaluate how combining the powers of the Optellum AI and robotic bronchoscopy platforms impacts health outcomes for patients, and take AI-driven early lung cancer interception to the next level.”