Bracco Imaging and Subtle Medical partner to optimize MR contrast quality with AI

por John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | September 26, 2023
Artificial Intelligence MRI
Bracco Imaging and Subtle Medical will build a new solution that improves image quality without having to increase dose in MR contrast-enhanced scans. (Photo courtesy of Bracco Imaging)
As part of a global agreement, Bracco Imaging will develop a new solution that leverages Subtle Medical's AI image reconstruction software to improve quality in contrast-enhanced scans without having to increase dose.

The product will be accessible across Bracco Imaging's entire MR portfolio and will enhance the quality "beyond the standard of care," Ajit Shankaranarayanan, chief operating officer for Subtle Medical, told HCB News.

The two will begin their collaboration in the U.S., where Bracco Imaging distributes products and services through its subsidiary, Bracco Diagnostics.
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Bracco Imaging is based in Milan, Italy, and is the developer of gadolinium-based agents Multihance and Prohance for central nervous system brain lesions. It also manufactures Vueway (gadopiclenol), another gadolinium-based agent approved for both the central nervous system and parts of the body, including the head, neck, thorax, abdomen, pelvis, and musculoskeletal system. Vueway produces the same image quality with only half the dose of other gadolinium-based contrast agents (GBCA).

While no adverse effects have been found, the scientific community knew for over a decade that gadolinium, the most popular choice of MR contrast agents, posed risks to patients with renal insufficiencies before evidence emerged that it could accumulate in the brain. Some individuals, like Chuck Norris and his wife, have said that exposure to gadolinium has left them with adverse and painful side effects.

Subtle Medical’s technologies include SubtleGad, which reduces gadolinium-based contrast agents by 90%, while maintaining image quality; SubtleSYNTH, which synthesizes MR imaging contrast from already acquired agents for shorter protocols; and its flagship solution, SubtleMR, which applies sharpness enhancement and denoising to preserve image quality with accelerated MR scan protocols.

" Through this partnership, we will strive to redefine the boundaries of diagnostic precision and efficiency, unlocking new possibilities and bringing additional value to our already-unique MR portfolio,” said Fulvio Renoldi Bracco, vice chairman and chief executive officer of Bracco Imaging S.p.A., in a statement.

Back in February, Wellstar Health System, in Georgia, became one of the first U.S. healthcare systems to trial VUEWAY. In two Phase III trials, more than 500 patients were scanned with it. These results were compared to those of full-dose gadobutrol-based scans. Even with half dosage, blinded readers said gadopiclenol scans had comparable image quality.

Bracco Imaging’s contrast agents can be used in adults, pediatric, and neonatal patients (under two), and those with renal insufficiency.

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