USA – Paige, a digital pathology company, has launched a new artificial-intelligence-powered tool for researchers to aid in the detection of cases of breast cancer that have metastasized to nearby lymph nodes.

The system works in tandem with a pathologist’s interpretation of a sample. However, working without assistance to detect small clumps of interloping tumor cells over a relatively large area of tissue can be time-consuming.

Accurate detection of breast cancer metastases is paramount for physicians and their patients, but it can be a laborious, manual task for pathologists,” David Klimstra, M.D., Paige’s founder and chief medical officer, said in a statement.

Whether or not cancer cells from the breast have spread to the lymphatic system can alter a patient’s diagnosis and treatment.

Paige’s AI program seeks to improve the accuracy and efficiency of detecting potential tumors of any size, including micrometastases that would otherwise go undetected.

According to the company, the research-only software will be available immediately as part of the Paige Breast Suite.

The Paige Breast Lymph Node module is powered by the same underlying AI technology as the FDA-approved Paige Prostate, which can analyze a wide range of pathology data gathered from various slide-staining techniques and imaging scanners.

Positive signs of metastatic breast cancer are shown at the lymph node level by highlighting all suspicious areas on a slide. The pathologist prioritizes those slides and cases for review.

This is intended to detect acinar adenocarcinoma, a prostate gland-forming cancer, and to highlight for pathologists the area of the prostate with the highest likelihood of harboring cancer.

Meanwhile, Paige announced a partnership with pathology AI developer Mindpeak last month, bringing the German company’s BreastIHC software to Paige’s platform to help detect, classify, and count breast cancer cells.

In February, Flagship Biosciences, based in Colorado, announced a similar distribution partnership in immuno-oncology for the latter’s software that quantifies PD-L1 expression in immunohistochemistry tissue samples.

PathAI is another company in the growing AI pathology field that is specifically developing programs for detecting PD-L1 cancer cases.

Through a retrospective analysis of a clinical trial in patients with melanoma, which raised US$165 million for its efforts last year, previously demonstrated that its software could help identify up to 28 percent more PD-L1 positive patients who had previously been classified as negative by manual scoring.

PathAI is also developing algorithms for CD8 expression as a cancer biomarker along with programs to aid in diagnosis of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis.

Pathologists can also get AI-decision support from Ibex to help with making an accurate, timely and personalized cancer diagnosis.

Paige has raised US$170 million since its inception in 2017. This includes a US$100 million Series C round last year, a US$45 million Series B round in 2019, and a US$25 million Series A round closed in 2018.

Casdin Capital and Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC, Inc. (JJDC), Johnson & Johnson’s strategic venture capital arm, led the Series C round, which closed in January 2021.

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