Artificial Intelligence and Diagnostic Imaging: Bracco Imaging presents AI-for-COVID at Expo 2020 Dubai

The latest applications of artificial intelligence in diagnostic imaging were presented at the Italian Pavilion. These include the AI-for-COVID project of the Bracco Group and the Italian Diagnostic Center. The interview with Dr. Sergio Papa, director of diagnostic imaging of the CDI

intelligenza artificiale applicata all'imaging diagnostico

The AI-for-COVID project lands at Expo 2020 Dubai.

There are numerous potentials for the application of Artificial Intelligence in healthcare highlighted by the global health emergency from Covid-19.

These include the advantages of using artificial intelligence in diagnostic imaging.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the Italian Diagnostic Center of Milan has enhanced and accelerated the processes of the use of artificial intelligence systems and big-data in diagnostic imaging. From the experience, fruit of the collaboration with Bracco Imaging, it was born AI-for-COVID.

Intelligent Imaging: Beyond the Future and Back to Mind

On the occasion of "Health & Wellness Week" there thematic week of Expo 2020 Dubai, dedicated to health and well-being, the Bracco Group, as Official Gold Sponsor of Italy Pavilion, and the Italian Diagnostic Center brought the latest applications of artificial intelligence in diagnostic imaging to the universal exhibition with the workshop “Intelligent Imaging: Beyond the Future and Back to Mind”. At the center of the meeting the advantages of the use of artificial intelligence in diagnostic imaging.

During the workshop the AI-for-COVID project promoted by the Italian Diagnostic Center was presented.

The following took part: Fabio Tedoldi, R&D Director Bracco Imaging, Dr. Charles Kahn, Professor and Vice President of the Department of Radiology atUniversity of Pennsylvania and Director of the scientific journal "Radiology: Artificial Intelligence"; Dr. Lorenzo Preda, Full Professor of Radiology at the University of Pavia and head of the Radiology Division at theIRCCS San Matteo Polyclinic FoundationDr. Isabella Castiglioni, Full Professor of Medical Physics and Machine Learning atUniversity of Milan-Bicocca and co-founder and Honorary President of the startup DeepTrace TechnologyDr. Marco Ali, Research Operation Manager CDI; Dr. Giovanni Valbusa, Project Manager R&D Bracco Imaging. 

From left: Marco Alì; Sergio Papa; Lorenzo Preda; Isabella Castiglioni; Federico Ferrazza; Enzo Grossi

The workshop is part of the international event "Artificial Intelligence & Cybersecurity for Human Health", organized by the Italy Pavilion in collaboration with the Israel and United Arab Emirates Pavilion. 

During the forum, which took place at the amphitheater of the Italian Pavilion, representatives of Italian, Israeli and Emirati institutions and experts talked about how they are redefining their national health systems through new technologies, with a view to a strong collaboration and exchange of experiences. 

Furthermore, the geopolitical context, resulting from the Abraham Agreement between Israel and the UAE, outlines an extremely interesting environment for collaboration and relations in terms of diplomacy, science and economics.

To kick off the works, the General Commissioner of Italy at Expo 2020 Dubai, Paul Glisenti and the General Commissioner of Israel at Expo 2020 Dubai Elazar Cohen.

They introduced the forum, in connection, Giovanni Leonardi, Secretary-General, Italian Ministry of Health e HE Nitzan Horowitz, Minister of Health, Israel.

The following took part, among others: Prof. Ernesto Damiani, Senior Director, Robotics and Intelligent Systems Institute, Khalifa University e Giorgio Metta, Scientific Director Italian Institute of Technology.

AI-for-COVID project at Expo 2020 Dubai

On the occasion of the workshop Intelligent Imaging: Beyond the Future and Back to Mind " the project was presented AI-for-COVID.

The AI-for-COVID project is promoted by the Italian Diagnostic Center, which has long been involved in the radiomics sector, and has involved important Italian public and private clinical and research centers in the collection of cases.

This is a national and multicentre scientific project based on artificial intelligence applied to diagnostic imaging that allows doctors and healthcare professionals to have a database of radiographic images of patients affected by Covid-19, useful for understanding in advance the course of the disease. disease by improving hospital triage and enabling personalized and more timely therapies.

AI-for-COVID not only represents a combination of technology and medicine, but also hopes to create a personalized therapeutic approach for each patient affected by Covid-19. 

The innovative platform available to the international scientific community.

On the sidelines of the worksphop we asked a few questions to dr. Sergio Papa, director of imaging at the CDI.

Dr. Sergio Papa also spoke at the webinar #beyond research and innovation of 15 December 2020, one of the events of the Bracco Group's approach to Expo 2020 Dubai.

Sergio Papa

What does the AI-for-COVID study represent for Italy and the international scientific community? 

The platform, available to the international scientific community, represents a result in terms of predictivity that improves the accuracy of the prognosis based only on the doctor's opinion by a few percentage points. We arrived at this result by applying algorithms of artificial intelligence systems to radiographic images and clinical data of Covid patients in order to be able to predict the evolution of the disease severity and indicate which patients, from the first day of hospitalization, would have been hospitalized in intensive care. 

How the idea of the project was born AI-for-COVID?

AI-for-COVID was born with the covid-19 pandemic but in the past we had already started artificial intelligence studies applied to diagnostic imaging for other pathologies such as, for example, breast cancer. 

During the health emergency we have put in place a series of procedures and algorithms already studied in the past in a more speculative way.

Radiological imaging is playing a crucial role in diagnosing patients with Covid-19 and determining treatment options. Basically, what we did was use radiomics which, together with genomics, represents the new frontier of personalized medicine, in the battle against this terrible pandemic, making precious clinical data available to all doctors and hospitals.  

Data collection was carried out in collaboration with important Lombard and national hospital institutions, and the development of deep learning procedures in cooperation with computational research institutions. Diagnostic imaging generates a vast volume of data which, thanks to the power of artificial intelligence, can be correlated with clinical development and the course of the disease.

Radiomics and genomics. In your opinion, what is the future of the omics sciences dealing with data?

The future is much closer than we imagine. All omics sciences have their own target but will have to converge to obtain results that are the sum of the various lines of research. Specifically, speaking of radiomics and genomics, each one deals with its own sector, but to get to the personalization of medicine they must converge.

There is already talk of radiogenomics which means the union of the predictive result of a radiomic evaluation and of a study with the genomic evaluation that studies other data and which is not necessarily always convergent. Now the next step is to find a way to homogenize the data. 

What are the certainties of the AI-for COVID project?

A robust predictive score, which allows clinicians to manage the patient in a more targeted way, adapting the different therapies to the possible evolutions of this pathological condition.

AI-for COVID at Expo Dubai. How important was it to present the project on a stage of great international importance?

The Italian diagnostic center is a high quality clinical reality, which has always been dedicated to the patient and committed to diagnostics and medical practice. Today also operating in the advanced research sector dealing with data, it has achieved important milestones for the future of medicine.

Having had the opportunity to exhibit our AI-for-COVID project at Expo Dubai was a great result for us. 

What are the next developments? 

Our AI-for-COVID project has given a new impetus to research on the disease caused by Covid-19, with particular regard to the damage it causes to the lungs, and is helping us to implement targeted measures for patients whose pre-existing conditions make them more susceptible to the deleterious effects of the disease.  

Now we have to go ahead and deal with the consequences. In fact, we are working on the various post-Covid pathologies (e.g. myocarditis, lung and brain diseases) that remain active for a certain period of time in patients who have contracted covid in a severe form. 

Through the collection of long covid cases and applying the algorithms to medical images, we will evaluate the possibility of selecting patients who have a higher probability of undergoing a long-term sequelae: at that point it will be possible to implement, in a more targeted, therapies and behaviors useful to prevent or block the most disabling consequences.