CDx Diagnostics: Cancer Prevention through Enhanced Precancerous Cell Detection and Removal
Mark Rutenberg, Founder & CEO
According to one study, one of every three people in the U.S. will develop some form of malignancy during their lifetime. One such aggressive form of cancer—Esophageal Cancer—can be prevented before developing, believes Mark Rutenberg, Founder and CEO of CDx Diagnostics. “We embarked on a mission to pre-empt the occurrence of cancer in a world that considers that its early detection is the best possible outcome of modern medicine,” says Rutenberg. With its blue-sky thinking, CDx Diagnostics has enhanced the detection of precancerous cells to prevent Esophageal Adenocarcinoma, which is also one of the most rapidly growing cancers in the U.S. This disease involving the distal esophagus is usually diagnosed at an advanced stage and is relatively unresponsive to radiation therapy or chemotherapy. Physicians are using the WATS3D tissue sampling kit to help them detect pre-cancerous cells so they can then apply endoscopic therapy to destroy the cells before they can progress to adenocarcinoma.
Physiciansuse several diagnostic and therapeutic tools to manage esophageal diseases, like narrow band imaging, tissue sampling, and ablation. However, WATS3D has been a game changer in this area. It empowers gastroenterologists, GI surgeons,and pathologists to find precancerous cells missed by standard sampling techniques before it’s too late. It starts with an esophageal tissue sample taken by a gastroenterologist or GI surgeon with an histocytology brush that allows physicians to get a Wide- Area Transepithelial Sample (WATS). Because this unique tissue sample is up to 150 microns thick and a standard microscope can only evaluate a 3 micron think specimen the tissue sample is sent to CDx’s lab for processing, using an advanced computer image analysis system that incorporates a neural network with molecular biology and 3D cytopathology.
A proprietary imaging and computer network that creates a three-dimensional view is used to scan several thousand cell images.
We embarked on a mission to pre-empt the occurrence of cancer
CDx’s proprietary neural network uses artificial intelligence to aid in the complex process of scanning and sortingover a hundred thousand computer images to identify the 100 images most likely to have unhealthy or precancerous cells. The 3D images produced by the network play a unique and vital role in helping pathologists to make a definitive diagnosis. This process appeals to CIOs who are looking to leverage technology for real-world outcomes.Suspicious cells are rescanned at higher resolution, and the most suspicious of these are flagged as a starting point for the expert pathologist’s analysis. The pathologist renders the tissue diagnosis after reviewing the images flagged by the computer.
“Our neural network builds on software developed in the Department of Defense to distinguish between missiles and drones—and now we apply this technology to finding cells that could potentially threaten the patient’s life,” explains Rutenberg. The high sensitivity of WATS3D is largely due to its neural network and clinical analysis that performs sophisticated tests on every cell on the slide to catch any sign of potential abnormality early and has only become more accurate with constant use over the last ten years.
“We have generated a growing body of peer-reviewed clinical evidence that shows the potential WATS3D exhibits in aiding physicians in the process of finding more precancerous cells in the esophagus than with random forceps biopsy,” states Rutenberg. Most recently, physicians who used WATS3D shared data that showed WATS3D tissue samples progress to adenocarcinoma at a rate similar to or faster than forceps biopsy.
CDx’s clinical success has led to the rapid expansion of all functions within the company and partnerships with external pathologists trained by CDx in reading the company’s 3D computer images. A clinical study has begun in Europe, which aims to expand the use of the WATS3D test to other countries in near future. “We are also carrying out studies to determine the possibility of applying our technology to other parts of the body,” concludes Rutenberg.
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