Alliance CMO Speaks at International Conference

Alliance CMO Jeremy Slater, M.D., spoke recently before a diverse audience of biomedical scientists, engineers and clinicians at the 21st International Conference on Medical Image Computing & Computer Assisted Intervention (MICCAI 2018). The annual conference, held this year in Granada, Spain in September, focuses on the cutting edge of the interface between artificial intelligence and diagnostic imaging.  

Slater gave the keynote lecture, “Brains for Brains: The Role of AI/ML Guided Clinical Decision Support in Neurology,” in an IBM-sponsored satellite meeting at the conference. He spoke on the tremendous developments of medical image analysis algorithms, the juxtaposed slow pace of incorporating these developments into clinical practice, and the challenges involved.

“The use of AI/ML techniques within neurology has barely started, yet the opportunities to create analytical tools that combine and integrate the vast amount of varying data created and collected by neurologists are immense,” he said in his presentation.

Those future tools have the potential to completely change the landscape of clinical care, according to Slater, but a lot more research is needed. “Researchers are just now beginning to develop multimodal learning techniques on disease-specific information in modalities to find supporting evidence for a disease or to automatically learn associations of symptoms and their appearance in imaging,” he said.

The role of clinical knowledge is also being actively explored, albeit at a slow rate, Slater added. “Benchmarking frameworks such as ImageCLEF (Image retrieval track in the Cross-Language Evaluation Forum) and Visceral have expanded over the past five years to include large medical image collections for testing. However, accurate ground truth labeling of large-scale datasets is proving to be a challenging problem.”

Besides the need for the standardization of data formats and the development and adoption of new supporting network architectures, another challenge is how to create financial incentives to convert these into reality, he said.

In addition to Slater’s presentation, the three-day MICCAI 2018 featured lectures, workshops and hands-on tutorials on varied topics ranging from the future of radiology to intelligent “soft” robots that can be swallowed and independently perform diagnostics inside the body.