Automated, Quantitative, Neurovascular Image Analysis for the Improvement of Stroke Treatment

     Challenge Stroke is the #2 cause of morbidity and the leading cause of long-term disability in Europe. Each year 1.4 million European citizens suffer from a stroke. Due to an ageing population and unhealthy lifestyles this number is increasing. Stroke significantly affects the quality of life of survivors; physical disability persists for at least three months for half of the patients, and 5 million patients worldwide require intensive long term institutional care. All this results in an economic burden of approximately €38.4 billion per year. Medical imaging, such as CT, is of utmost importance for early diagnosis and choice of treatment for strokes, and when new treatments are developed the decision making progress regarding choice of treatment will become more complicated meaning clinicians need to be better informed.

     Oppertunity The medical image analysis market was estimated to be worth €1.5 billion in 2012, growing at a rate of 7.2% to reach €2.2 billion in 2017. Moreover the global radiology market was estimated to be €4 billion in 2014. The clinical trial market is between €4.6 million and €10.3 million per year, with additional trials each year researching novel therapies to treat and prevent acute strokes.

     Solution Computational support can almost instantly provide the required information to assist in treatment decisions. More advanced and faster decision making substantially improves the quality of life of stroke patients. Nico-lab has developed a portfolio of 6 algorithms that automatically analyse and quantify radiological images of acute stroke patients. By using Nico-lab’s tools physicians can interpret medical scans in a fast and objective way allowing them to assess stroke severity objectively and make quick, calculated decisions on treatments and monitoring.

     Status Nico-lab has demonstrated the usefulness of the tools through successful completion of the MR CLEAN clinical trial. Their commercial potential was further recognised by Horizon2020, NWO, and the IXA who all awarded grants, as well as pharmaceutical company Bayer who enlisted Nico-lab for data management and scan analysis during a large clinical trial. Nico-lab is currently focusing on setting up a randomised clinical trial and searching for external funding.