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Immediate, ubiquitous and affordable image diagnosis combining the power of AI, smartphones and 3d printing to achieve Universal Diagnosis by 2030

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - SpotLab (Immediate, ubiquitous and affordable image diagnosis combining the power of AI, smartphones and 3d printing to achieve Universal Diagnosis by 2030)

Reporting period: 2020-11-01 to 2022-04-30

The treatment and prevention of infectious and chronic diseases are dependent on their early detection. Optical microscopy is used for the diagnosis of many diseases impacting 1 billion people every year, however it has barely changed since its conception 150 years ago. It still requires the presence of an expert microscopist to manually review samples under the microscope, which isn’t always practical or financially feasible. The EU-funded SpotLab project aims to address this problem by bringing microscopy to the digital era, enabling remote diagnosis supported by artificial intelligence to reduce the time, costs and distances involved in microscopy diagnosis. Its solution is a digital health ecosystem based on a smartphone transformed into a portable, smart and low-cost medical device, a flexible telemedicine platform and an artificial intelligence factory which can create algorithms for image analysis of any relevant global health disease. The Spotlab project aims to industrialize the digital health platform and the AI factory, and pilot it in relevant clinical environments around the world to accelerate its market penetration and therefore contribute to the democratization of the access to medical image diagnosis.
SpotLab has dedicated efforts to bring the project to completion by developing three main areas: a) technology industrialization and deployment; b) clinical studies for performance evaluation; c) go-to-market strategy and business development. SpotLab successfully accomplished the integration and industrialization of its digital health platform. Work included designing and deploying 3D printed hardware along with mobile application software that together made possible the digitalization with ordinary microscopes; a secure platform in the cloud to enable remote image analysis and case management; and the creation of a groundbreaking AI factory for agile creation and fast deployment of custom AI models both in the cloud and in the smartphone (edge-AI) to analyze these same medical images. All the industrialization process has followed the European medical device design and development guidelines and regulations. In order to perform the clinical studies, Spotlab has partnered with multiple international health institutions, in Europe, Africa and Latinamerica. As a result, 3 clinical protocols have been co-developed covering three use cases, tackling a range of diseases from hematology to neglected tropical diseases. During the implementation of these studies, more than 25 health professionals have participated and +3000 samples have been digitalized, +15000 images have been analyzed, a +100000K clinical labels have been created in the images. These studies allowed to validate the functionality, usability and accuracy of digitalization capabilities and to create and understand the benefits of AI capabilities in the referred use cases. SpotLab witnessed the benefits of digitization to increase the diagnostic capacity of the centers involved, proving the impact of human and AI feedback loops with reduction of times in image diagnoses, improving accuracy or reducing interobserver variability. In parallel, Spotlab has performed intensive market research, exhaustive competitors' landscape mapping and refined its business development strategy. With the help of EU coaches and other experts, Spotlab has established a commercial funnel segmenting and targeting key stakeholders ranging from industry and pharmaceutical companies to ministries of health, global health foundations and research centers. Also, a special emphasis has been done on our communication and dissemination strategy, with the publication of two scientific articles and more than 200 activities, positioning SpotLab as an emerging reference and key stakeholder in the field of AI for healthcare.
In a post-pandemic world more digital than ever, where opportunities for digital health are advancing exponentially, and where the lack of enough medical specialists is a fact, the need for quality diagnostics tools and remote access to health services is evident. SpotLab has an opportunity to contribute to fill this gap by creating high tech and low cost technology applied to diseases that affect 1 billion people per year - and do not yet benefit from the digital revolution. Spotlab’s integrated digital health platform and AI factory is unique from a technological perspective: it allows to create digital data of diseases which are not yet even digitized, but also allows to deploy edge-AI models for in-vitro image analysis with medical-device level of quality. SpotLab has already developed groundbreaking AI models for hematology -cell counting in bone marrow samples- and infectious diseases -detecting intestinal parasites in feces samples or parasites in blood samples. And the SpotLab's AI factory is ready to scale across geographies and clinical use cases. Our strategic objectives include being the leading organization in the world deploying digital diagnosis systems supported by AI for hematology diseases, pathology and infectious diseases such as the neglected tropical diseases. All in all, we expect Spotlab and other social impact companies alike to contribute to our vision: immediate, ubiquitous and affordable image diagnostics for everyone.
Artificial Intelligence to diagnose neglected tropical diseases