New collaboration in radiology. MedTechLabs has chosen Collective Minds Radiology for its investment in teaching in acute stroke. The contract is for three years and allows the platform to be used for other areas as well. The idea is that the new cloud technology will both contribute to faster implementation of new treatment methods and increase interest in radiology among younger physicians.

MedTechLabs focuses on major diseases, such as cancer and stroke, and is located next door to the new Karolinska University Hospital in Solna. An important goal is to ensure that research results are quickly used in healthcare. With the cloud service from Swedish Collective Minds Radiology, MedTechLabs will now offer the further developed e-course “Acute stroke treatment within 24 hours – decision support with perfusion”, led by Håkan Almqvist, senior physician, and specialist in neuroradiology at Capio St Göran. The target group is students in the residency program in radiology and active radiologists throughout Sweden.

– The collaboration is a good example of how MedTechLabs collaborates with other life science actors to disseminate research results and increase implementation in Swedish healthcare. Collective Minds Radiology got its start at KI Innovation and MedTechLabs has its premises and CT lab directly adjacent to Karolinska University Hospital, five minutes from the hospital’s clinical activities, says Håkan Almqvist.

The agreement between MedTechLabs and Collective Minds Radiology runs for three years and means that other projects within MedTechLabs can also use the platform to share and interact with radiological images in a secure way. With a growing elderly population, increased digitization in health care, and the new opportunities in diagnostics that technological development brings, it is important that researchers and clinicians get better tools to collaborate on radiological images.

– Collective Minds Radiology was founded with the vision of building the world’s largest platform for collaboration in health, starting with radiology. Today we are a hub for collaboration between academia, healthcare and business, all of which need each other, explains Anders Norell, co-founder and CEO of Collective Minds Radiology.

With new advances in medical research, there is a growing need for education where radiological images are central to learning. “However, there is a shortage of skilled radiologists in Sweden, which is a problem for the healthcare system,” explains Niclas Roxhed, Director of MedTechLabs.

– By launching our redesigned e-course on this modern platform, we also hope to increase interest in the field of radiology among the doctors who are currently training. Ultimately, it is crucial for academia, hospitals, and medical technology companies that we secure tomorrow’s competence in radiology, concludes Niclas Roxhed.

The e-course “Acute stroke treatment within 24 hours – decision support with perfusion” will be launched on Collective Minds Radiology’s platform during the year and will be free of charge for healthcare professionals in Region Stockholm and available for the entire Nordic region.

Close on June 7th. MedTechLabs announces a call for funding of research programs in the areas of (1) Precision health and (2) Data-driven healthcare research.

The research should be focused on medical technology with clear clinical applications for preventing and treating widespread diseases. The call opened on April 4th and closes on June 7th, 2023. The estimated project start is January 1st, 2024. Johan Schuber, Executive Director for MedTechLabs, is in charge of the process. 

Read more. 

Magnus Boman is Professor of Intelligent Software Services at KTH and project manager for the AI@KI project. The MedTechLabs Board has now also commissioned him to carry out a survey of needs in the healthcare sector with regard to AI, identify synergies between research centres and propose training courses in the area, that MedTechLabs should be responsible for.

Hi Magnus! Can you give us some background to this exciting assignment?

– Hello! Well, since I started working with AI@KI 2020, I have been in contact with a lot of researchers who are at the forefront of AI application and key people at Karolinska University Hospital and in the Stockholm Region. AI is also something that runs through much of the research conducted by the researchers at MedTechLabs. So the conditions for jointly contributing further to the development and application of AI within the region seemed to be good. 

What will be the outcome of the survey?

– It will result in strategic advice for Region Stockholm, KTH, KI and MedTechLabs, as well as supporting the region’s work with precision medicine at the Precision Medicine Centre and in the hospitals. The focus here is on imaging, but also on more forward-looking trends, such as the role of AI in quantum technology for healthcare, an area where expectations are sky-high. 

How will you go about creating synergies between the centres?

– Based on the areas I have found, the idea is that I will also work to ensure that we maximise the opportunities for new and deeper collaborations in AI. This could include collaborations between the Centre for Imaging Research and Quantum for Life Sciences, but also larger, new relevant projects such as TEF (within the Vinnova call TEF Health), where testbeds will be developed at KI with the help of SciLifeLab, and of course also ongoing activities within MedTechLabs. 

And then AI education on top of this?

– Yes, many have contacted us with offers of training services since we conducted a series of appreciated seminars on AI methods within AI@KI. The idea is that I will review these and see what training activities can and should be held under supervision of MedTechLabs, and also help with the content and scope of courses. 

It sounds like you’re going to be busy?

– The assignment is equivalent to 20% of a full-time job and I will continue to work on my own research on lung cancer, among other things. I have many master’s students this spring, from both KI and KTH, who are all doing potentially meaningful things with AI for the future of healthcare and research. It’s very inspiring to be able to help the region and academia benefit from the technology that will have such a huge impact on both hospitals and patients. Then there’s the hope that it will continue to generate new medtech and AI companies that will also create job and export opportunities, something we already have several good examples of. I’m also keeping an eye on international developments, I’m currently visiting MILA in Montreal, perhaps the best AI institute in the world right now, which has a strong interest in medicine and health.

The project, funded by the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research (SSF), is carried out in collaboration with GE Healthcare and is led by Erik Fredenberg, adjunct professor at KTH.

We meet Erik Fredenberg on a Wednesday morning in the Bioclinicum research building, which is co-located with Karolinska University Hospital in Solna. This summer, he became an adjunct professor at KTH and will lead the work on virtual clinical trials with the photon-counting CT machine located in MedTechLab’s CT lab, just a few metres from where we are. The project, funded by the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research (SSF), is in collaboration with GE Healthcare, which is behind parts of the technology, including the new silicon detectors in the machine.

Congratulations on the new post and the project. What will you be working on?

– Thank you! The project I will be leading is based on a research grant from the SSF and I applied for it about two years ago, as a collaboration between industry and academia. The SSF grant will fund half a day a week of my work and GE Healthcare will provide another half day, so a total of one day a week. Then KTH is the host university for the project, so my employment is there. The project is linked to my existing position at GE Healthcare and will contribute to the exchange between industry and academia. Basically, the project will be carried out as when we wrote the application, but the status has been moved up as the research has progressed further. So, we are in an even better position to deliver now. I may also teach in the form of tutoring students. My workplace will continue to be GE HealthCare’s premises at Alba Nova, where I am already next door to the research group at KTH, and here in MedTechLab’s CT lab at BioClinicum.

Can you tell us more about the project and what it will lead to?

– I started in the field of mammography where we also worked on photo counting. Even then we could see great benefits of photon counting but one limitation was that there were not many applications of the technology in clinical practice. As a developer of new technology, you also need to explain and provide guidance around how it can be used. Photon counting CT can do a great many things, but it is important to also show applications and their benefits, where and how the technology can be useful. And this is precisely why an effective and good technical framework is needed to test all possible applications. This is where virtual clinical trials come in. They need to demonstrate in a coherent environment how things like improved iodine contrast can affect everyday clinical practice. Results from such technical tests can also serve as a basis for subsequent clinical studies with patients. There are a host of entirely new applications that can be achieved through the improved spatial resolution provided by photon counting CT and the ability to measure the energy of photons, i.e. the “colour” of radiation. A new world is opening up and there are many ideas and possibilities. But as I said, they need to be tested. GE already has a simulation tool for CT imaging that we are further developing for photon counting and which we will also validate with measurements in the lab. With that we are starting to test simpler applications, in the longer term we want to be able to run complete virtual clinical trials and then the vision is to get them so good that they can become part of a regulatory trial.

Why are virtual clinical trials needed – there are regular ones?

– Clinical trials are the best, but they are expensive and take a long time. Plus, after all, it involves radiation of patients, which should be minimized. So, there is a need to test applications technically, virtually, before starting a clinical trial. The term virtual clinical trial has been around for a few years and started, as far as I know, in mammography. In virtual clinical trials, the whole imaging process is simulated in a computer. There is a software phantom, a virtual human being with organs, and then you simulate radiation, detection, even the observation process, i.e. the work of the radiologist or other expert can be put into the simulation. Eventually this will be used as part of a regulatory trial. The US FDA, among others, is working to get there eventually.

How can your research project contribute to the development of CT?

– Hopefully what we do here will rub off on others working in the field. There is a lot going on around the development of photon counting CT and as we demonstrate it and now take it to clinical simulations, it may increase interest in the region and lead to more research. This is the next big step in CT since the introduction of semiconductor detectors in the 1980s. After all, CT is also the largest X-ray modality in the world today. That we are on the verge of something revolutionary is also proven by the fact that the big companies are now investing more than ever in the development of photon-counting CT.

What do you think of the research infrastructure, the CT lab, that is here?

– It’s invaluable and works incredibly well. We’re running a clinical trial already and the collaboration with the hospital is working smoothly with patients and our “gantry”, the machine that’s here. Before, it was located at Alba Nova and we took pictures of the first patients there, but it was quite uncomfortable. Doctors, nurses, and patients are all gathered here. The rest of GE Healthcare and others we work with also think it’s a great location to be able to work with Karolinska University Hospital. The Bioclinicum itself is also an exciting bridge between different stakeholders – healthcare, academia, and industry. It’s also nice that the CT lab is geographically close to our premises at GE Healthcare and not in a completely different part of the country. Here we have our own premises where we can meet physicians physically in peace and quiet and talk to them about the images. They don’t have to go to Alba Nova, which is important because they have their clinical routine. You really want to be able to give them the benefit of not having to travel away from the hospital and their patients.

Mats Danielsson, program leader at MedTechLabs and professor of Medical Imaging Physics at KTH, has received SEK 925 000 for his research in medical imaging technology that can enable earlier diagnosis of cancer and cardiovascular diseases. The prize is awarded by the Hans Wigzell Research Foundation.

Hans Wigzell is Professor of Immunology at Karolinska Institutet, a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (IVA), and a former President of Karolinska Institutet. Mats Danielsson receives the prize from the Research Foundation for his research in medical imaging technology that can enable earlier diagnosis of cancer and cardiovascular diseases.

For more information, read the press release from the Hans Wigzell Research Foundation here (in Swedish).

Three- and four-year funding for cancer projects. We congratulate MedTechLab's researcher Fredrik Strand who has recently been awarded research funding from both the Swedish Research Council and the Swedish Cancer Foundation. 

In October, Fredrik Strand was awarded SEK 6,000,000 in funding from the Swedish Research Council (spread over four years) for the project “Developing machine learning models for MRI-based precision medicine for breast cancer”. And in November, he was awarded a further SEK 2 400 000 (three years) from the Swedish Cancer Foundation.

2022 is not over and already several researchers at the centre's project "Optical 3D microscopy for more effective treatment of kidney diseases" have enjoyed good success.
The prize recognizes one or more researchers/research students who have distinguished themselves through outstanding utilization of research results that have led to innovation.

Staffan Holmin at the Department of Clinical Neuroscience at Karolinska Institutet, is awarded the Prize for Innovation and Utilization, 2022. Staffan Holmin is also a research leader at MedTechLabs in the programme Spectral CT-imaging and Endovascular Techniques.  

Read more about the priz and the prize committee’s motivation here

The project is a part of a broad, international multicenter study. Fredrik Strand, breast radiologist and researcher at Medtechlabs, is awarded SEK 4 million from Horizon Europe as one of several participants in the RadioVal project, who received a total grant of SEK 60 million.

RadioVal is the first broad multicenter study of radiomics-driven clinical evaluation of neoadjuvant therapy response to breast cancer. The project is based on tools and repositories of images created within five EU-funded projects from the AI ​​for Health Imaging network (AI4HI). To evaluate usability and transferability, validation will take place in eight different centres in Sweden, Austria, Spain, Poland, Croatia, Argentina, Egypt and Turkey.

The Radiology part of the program Breast Cancer Imaging program powered by AI Diagnostics, with Research leaders Kevin Smith, KTH and Fredrik Strand, Karolinska Institutet have been granted funding by the WASP and DDLS Joint call for research projects with SEK 3 875 000 for two years.

The project Transforming Breast Cancer (TransformBC) will recruit two postdocs starting April 1 2022. The first position with a focus on the development of new AI algorithms (KTH from WASP) and the second with a focus on clinical validation of the AI ​​algorithms (KI from DDLS). 

The Wallenberg AI, Autonomous Systems and Software Program (WASP) is a major national initiative for strategically motivated basic research, education and faculty recruitment. It is by far the largest individual research program in Sweden.

The SciLifeLab and Wallenberg National Program for Data-Driven Life Science (DDLS) is an initiative to handle that the amount and complexity of data is growing exponentially, and that more scientific discoveries are enabled when data is openly available to researchers across the world.