INNOVATION

Using Digital Technology and AI to Fight Cancer

It has the makings of a Hollywood movie. Three recent college grads start a medical testing software company that uses a digital pathology platform, meet with success, and then go on to utilize artificial intelligence (AI) to change the field of pathology, facilitating breakthrough advancements in the treatment of cancer.

Step three is still in the works, but the company, Proscia, has received a total of $8.3 million from five venture capital firms that support the direction the Philadelphia-based startup is taking. The funding has already put the company on the map, and on track to meet the demands of a changing field.

The Process
Proscia was actually launched when the founders were still in college. Reportedly, the three young men created test management software in a Baltimore dorm room. Today, that software has evolved into a cloud-based digital pathology platform used by thousands of pathologists, scientists, histotechnicians, and lab managers at more than 300 clinical and research facilities worldwide, including Johns Hopkins Department of Pathology and Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals, among others.

Unlike Theranos, another startup that was supposedly destined for success, Proscia doesn’t collect samples. Instead, its software is used to sort information collected on digital imaging and testing equipment and move that data efficiently among labs, doctors, insurers, and patients so they can make accurate decisions quickly.

The Proscia platform makes storing, viewing, and sharing slide images possible from anywhere in the world, on nearly any device. It is also designed to work with any slide-scanning hardware, and can be set up to upload automatically and directly to a lab’s digital workflow.

Moving Forward
The company indicates that proceeds from the financing will be used to expand the deployment of its digital pathology software and accelerate the use of artificial intelligence (AI) applications to drive accuracy and efficiency in cancer diagnosis. The capital raised will fuel the development and commercialization of new, clinical AI-enabled workflows targeting high-volume, high-impact cancers, the first of which will be available later this year.

Proscia says it will also use the funds to ramp up sales and marketing of its existing cloud-based digital pathology platform, which will serve as the foundation for its AI-based applications. It indicates that, combined, these technologies will redefine the field of pathology and be the impetus that moves human healthcare forward.

“Digital pathology and artificial intelligence are unlocking new possibilities for pathologists in the fight against cancer,” said David West, CEO at Proscia. “Pathology has been historically underserved by technology, and we believe that powerful software tools will push the boundaries of how modern pathology is practiced.

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