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Funding announced for partnership to develop 3D surgical planning models

A collaboration between UCL’s Translational Imaging Group (TIG) and Innersight Labs has won funding from MedCity’s ‘Collaborate to Innovate’ programme, a £2m initiative to commercialise life sciences discoveries through academic partnerships.

The TIG, led by BRC researcher Professor Sebastien Ourselin, will work with Innersight Labs to create a surgery planning tool that uses medical scans, coupled with machine learning algorithms, to generate a patient-specific 3D anatomical model. This can be used to aid better therapeutic decision making and decide on the optimal surgical plan for that patient.

Gaining an accurate overview from current clinical imaging scans, such as MRI and CT, can be time intensive as they are typically only viewed as a stack of 2D images. This new software platform integrates the latest deep-learning algorithms with clinical imaging systems to build anatomically accurate models. The team anticipate that clinicians will be able to manipulate an interactive 3D model on screen and merge this with additional quantitative information, such as tumour size, at the click of a mouse.

The ‘Collaborate to Innovate’ programme specifically targets small and medium-sized enterprises with innovative solutions for the clinical domain and matches them to academic research groups with complementary expertise. In addition to receiving financial support, Innersight Labs was partnered with the TIG in order to develop improved algorithms for the model building software and its clinician-friendly user interface to allow for better and more informed surgical planning.

Innersight Labs was founded in 2015 by University of Oxford computer science graduates, Dr Eoin Hyde and Dr Lorenz Berger.

Dr Hyde said: “Innersight are excited to work alongside the Translational Imaging Group towards enhancing methods for quantitative surgical planning and empowering surgeons to use validated technology to develop the best surgical plan possible.”

Current work is focused on renal therapies but the company aim to expand to other types of abdominal surgery and, eventually, full-body procedures once clinical validation on the usefulness of the models is demonstrated. Key milestones for Innersight Labs to date include being verified as the leading automatic kidney segmentation tool and initiating small scale clinical study to ensure a comprehensive understanding of the challenges in the operating theatre.

Over 70 companies applied to the MedCity programme, with 16 receiving funding. Successful applicants were matched with suitable academic partners to develop 6-12 month collaborative proposals worth up to £100,000.

Sarah Haywood, CEO of MedCity said: “London and the South East has a strong life sciences ecosystem of innovative companies developing the next generation of therapeutic and healthcare products. We have everything from new drugs, development of healthcare services based on AI and VR technologies, new devices and smartphones used to help people manage their care. Sometimes you just need a helping hand with finding a key piece of the puzzle, to get the idea from mind to market. I’m excited that we have been able to match 16 ground-breaking SMEs with academics from our leading universities to develop their innovations and make them commercially viable.”

Visit MedCity to read the full list.