BRASTER, an innovative Polish company using liquid crystal contact thermography for breast cancer diagnostics, has received the final report on the work of the Warsaw University of Technology on the possibility of using artificial intelligence for the interpretation of examinations performed using the Braster device. The initial research shows that development of the algorithm might significantly increase the diagnostic efficacy of the Braster device to achieve sensitivity and specificity of 90% and more. Further work on the algorithm for the automatic interpretation of examinations will last six to nine months.
The Faculty of Electronics and Information Technology, the Institute of Electronic Systems at the Warsaw University of Technology, has completed a three-month preliminary research project for BRASTER S.A. Its aim was to determine the possibility of using image processing methods and algorithms and learning to automate the identification of cancerous changes on thermographic images.
“For the time being – i.e., during the first stage – the research has been carried out on a small base of thermographic examinations, but already at this stage they confirm the validity of further efforts to develop artificial intelligence algorithms. According to our partners from Warsaw University of Technology, further development of the algorithm will contribute to substantial increases in the sensitivity and specificity of the thermographic method for the diagnosis of breast cancer,” commented the President of the Board of BRASTER S.A., Marcin Halicki.
Because of the preliminary nature of the project, standard algorithms for processing images and neural networks, coming from publicly available libraries, have been used, without attempting to adapt them to the specifications of data processing or developing new, non-standard algorithms. This provides foundations for the claim that further efforts to create a dedicated system for the automated analysis of examinations from the Tester device could bring measurable benefits in the form of an increase of diagnostic effectiveness or even the achievement of sensitivity and specificity reaching 90% or above.
“The conclusions from the report fit ideally into our new development strategy for BRASTER S.A. for 2015–2021, announced on December 10. In the document approved by the Supervisory Board we projected that the target group for our Tester would be women directly. In order to make this happen, the Tester must have algorithms for the interpretation of data developed that will facilitate their automatic assessment. Automation of the process will allow us to reach millions of women across the world with the device in subsequent years. In line with the recommendations resulting from the research carried out, we intend to immediately start continuation of the research effort on development of AI algorithms for computer assisted analysis of images from the breast Tester,” adds Marcin Halicki.
BRASTER S.A. was established in 2008 by a group of five Polish scientists who had developed an application for liquid crystals in diagnostics of breast cancer that was unique on a global scale. The scientists had developed a one-of-a-kind mixture of liquid crystal compounds and an innovative formula of liquid crystal emulsion, which had been used in a proprietary technology for manufacturing liquid crystal matrices based on the Continuous Liquid Crystal Film (CLCF) method. On the basis of this methodology, BRASTER S.A. has developed a prototype of the Tester device – an innovative medical thermographic tester for the early detection of breast pathologies, and breast cancer in particular.
BRASTER S.A. is the only company in the world to hold a tested technology for manufacturing liquid crystal matrices to be used in the imaging of breast pathologies; in particular, breast cancer. The objective of BRASTER S.A. is to develop the Tester device and prepare it for mass production. Since 2012 the company has been publicly traded on the NewConnect market.
BRASTER S.A. has been awarded the Golden Laurel of Innovation by the Polish Engineering Association, awarded the prestigious title of Market Innovation Leader by Dziennik Gazeta Prawna, and distinguished in the Polish Product of the Future contest organized by the Polish Agency for Enterprise Development.
The Tester, invented by Polish scientists, is the first device in the world to use thermographic liquid crystal matrices in diagnostics of breast cancer. As the ThermaCRAC Test carried out in 2013 confirmed, the Tester is an effective diagnostic tool, complementary to mammography and ultrasonography, which significantly increases the chances of detecting cancer at a very early stage of development.
The device comprises three matrices with film covered with liquid crystal mixture, which facilitates thermographic imaging. The Tester is simple to use and non-invasive, and thus painless and safe for patients. The device does not emit or use harmful radiation and is biologically neutral to skin. The Tester can supplement screening diagnostics across a broad spectrum of female patients, irrespective of their age or breast tissue and temperature.