New Software From iCAD Helps Doctors Diagnose Prostate Cancer

April 20, 2011
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It’s the second most common form of cancer in men, yet diagnosing it still presents a challenge to physicians.

It’s the second most common form of cancer in men, yet diagnosing it still presents a challenge to physicians. Now, new software being used at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center should help detect prostate cancer earlier, eliminate unnecessary testing procedures and help form a treatment plan.

VividLook, a new program used with magnetic resonance imaging exams, makes test results much easier to read and enables physicians to pinpoint where a malignancy may be located in the prostate.

“This is another tool in the approach in the management of prostate cancer,” said Dr. Mark Shapiro, chief of radiology at Englewood. “It will potentially eliminate the need for biopsies in some men and help guide biopsies in others so we will have a lot less false-negative biopsy results.”

Screening for prostate cancer begins with a digital rectal exam and a blood test that gauges the level of a protein, prostate specific antigen. Typically, a 4 or below is a normal PSA. Patients with higher levels may be urged to get a biopsy.

“But when we don’t have any images to look at, the biopsies are just random samples of different areas,” Shapiro said. “So it’s very easy to miss the cancer.”

In addition to not being very accurate, biopsies are invasive tests that may cause bleeding and infection. Even more distressing, many men undergo the procedure needlessly because most patients with an elevated PSA don’t have prostate cancer. Only 25 percent to 35 percent of the patients who undergo a biopsy with a PSA level between 4 and 9 have the disease, according to the National Cancer Institute.

VividLook should help eliminate the need for so many biopsies and should help physicians find tumors when they exist, doctors said. Before this software was created, doctors didn’t do MRIs on the prostate and had to perform biopsies almost blindly, sometimes taking as many as 12 tissue samples from all areas of the gland with each procedure. That’s because interpreting images of a gland that is filled with numerous veins and arteries and located deep within the pelvic cavity, behind the bladder, was nearly impossible.

“When you inject dye into the prostate, the whole thing kind of glows and it’s hard to distinguish what is suspicious,” said Liza Heapes, a spokeswoman for iCad,Inc., the New Hampshire-based company that makes VividLook.”VividLook uses different criteria and clinical data that show suspicious areas.”

Nearly 218,000 men nationwide are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year and more than 32,000 men die from the disease. About one in six men will be diagnosed with the disease in their lifetime, and it trails lung cancer as the second leading cause of death in men. But more than 2 million men are alive who were diagnosed with the disease at some point in their lives.

Armune Bioscience is an early-stage biopharmaceuticals company focused on the development and commercialization of high value, protein signature-based diagnostic tests for prostate, and other cancers, thereby allowing physicians and patients to make better treatment decisions. Envisioneering Medical Technologies develops a unique and proprietary scanning technology that uses ultrasound imaging to guide diagnostic biopsy sampling and to guide treatment delivery.

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