The new technology developed by imagene, a Tel Aviv start-up company founded in 2020 by three young developers, has revolutionized the way cancerous tumors are characterized and diagnosed at Sheba Medical Center. The artificial intelligence (AI) technology has been implemented for several months at the medical center and has significantly reduced the time it takes to diagnose cancerous tumors.
Before the implementation of this technology, biopsy samples had to be sent to a pathology laboratory for examination under computerized microscopes, which could take a long time, sometimes even up to a month. This delay could put patients’ lives in danger as they waited for an answer that would determine their treatment options. However, with this new technology, within minutes of receiving a digital scan of the sample brought from the operating room, AI algorithms scan thousands of different mutations present in the tumor to identify its characteristics.
Prof. Iris Brashak, director of the pathology laboratory at Sheba Medical Center and chairman of the Israeli Pathology Association, explains how this new technology has changed their approach to diagnosing cancerous tumors: “Since we switched to digital scanning of biopsies, we can view samples even from home and anywhere in the world.” The digital scan allows them to give quick answers to patients even when they are not in the lab and consult with experts from all over the world. “Artificial intelligence technology has turned the tide,” says Prof. Brashak. “We can now save lives by providing fast and accurate diagnoses.”
The computers at Sheba Medical Center’s pathology lab are working harder than ever before with this new technology: after a digital scan of a biopsy sample is received from an operating room, AI algorithms begin scanning thousands of different algorithms to identify mutations present in it. Within minutes, they receive an indication of what type of cancer is present so that medical teams know what treatment options should be given.
Prof. Brashak also mentions that this technology has made significant improvements in patient care: “Patients who came in with metastatic lung cancer had to wait three weeks for genetic sequencing of their tumor,” she said, “now initial answers are received within minutes which we check as a precautionary measure and immediately forward them to oncologists so that they can decide on treatment options.” With this new technology at Sheba Medical Center, doctors can make informed decisions about patient care much faster than before.