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Israel-UK teams to use AI to help flag patients at risk for osteoporosis

Israeli startup Zebra Medical Vision and Scottish consultancy Storm ID will work with UK’s NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and Israel’s Assuta to develop the models

Shoshanna Solomon is The Times of Israel's Startups and Business reporter

Zebra Medical and  Scottish consultancy Storm ID will join forces to develop Artificial Intelligence based models to detect people at risk of developing osteoporosis (Courtesy)
Zebra Medical and Scottish consultancy Storm ID will join forces to develop Artificial Intelligence based models to detect people at risk of developing osteoporosis (Courtesy)

Israeli startup Zebra Medical Vision and Scottish consultancy Storm ID will join forces to develop ways to detect people at risk of developing osteoporosis, a skeletal disorder in which patients suffer from low bone mass and bone fragility.

Using machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies, the software they develop will analyze medical imaging data and patient records to help clinical teams identify and treat people with risk of fractures before they happen.

The two firms, whose proposal won a UK-Israel research and development competition, will work with an international, multidisciplinary team of clinicians, data scientists and computer scientists for over two years, running clinical trials and implementing the software at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, a Scottish national healthcare provider, and at Assuta Medical Centers in Israel.

Osteoporosis is a major public health concern that continues to grow worldwide. Fragility fractures, unrelated to high impact trauma, are the major complication of the condition, which is often underdiagnosed and undertreated, Zebra said in a statement.

Major osteoporotic fractures can result in morbidity and mortality, particularly for hip fractures, which is a main concern for an aging population.

The project is co-funded in part by the UK and Israel to foster industrial research collaboration between the two nations, under the EUREKA framework, a global intergovernmental network to promote market-oriented R&D.

Zebra Medical uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to help read medical scans. Storm ID has developed a platform that can analyze patient generated health data from digital technologies and consumer health tech such as apps, sensors and wearables, enabling it to be shared with healthcare professionals to help in the decision making process and enable targeted interventions.

The two firms will combine their platforms, of data and artificial intelligence models, to “transform osteoporosis screening,” said Paul McGinness, director at Storm ID in the statement. “By predicting ahead of time the potential risk of bone fracture, we can intervene earlier to treat and manage the risk, which is better for the patient and for the health system.”

“Being able to re-analyze information from patient records and imaging is an important advantage of modern artificial intelligence,” said Dr. Michal Guindy, head of Imaging and Innovation at Assuta. Assuta performs over 200,000 CTs annually, she said, and can thus “play a significant role in early detection of osteoporosis. By analyzing studies that were done for other clinical indications, we can help prevent fractures and contribute to solving a public health challenge of growing concern.”

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde is the largest NHS organis\zation in Scotland and one of the largest in the UK, serving a population of 1.14 million and employing around 39,000 staff.

Zebra has already been working with Israeli healthcare providers. With Clalit, the largest health provider in Israel, for the past six years, Zebra has implemented a number of algorithms to screen patients, including identifying candidates for bone density screening and for coronary calcium scoring.

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