Volpara Health Technologies to use AI for breast care and screening

Alice Chambers
Alice Chambers
By Alice Chambers on 21 June 2022
Volpara Health Technologies to use AI for breast care and screening
Microsoft

The new platform will use AI to detect BACs and provide personalised care

Volpara Health Technologies has collaborated with Microsoft to provide an integrated platform for personalised breast care. Microsoft will help the health software company to research and develop a product that detects and quantifies breast arterial calcifications (BACs), which will help to identify the risk of breast cancer developing in patients.

The platform will build upon Volpara’s approach to quantitative and objective breast density scoring using artificial intelligence (AI). The product will create a tissue composition map that identifies BACs from a mammogram so that radiologists can identify steps to prevent the development of cancer and heart disease.

Microsoft’s machine learning and AI specialists will help to improve Volpara’s BACS model and data processing, and will also assist with the technical development of the product.

“The trusted relationship we have built with Microsoft over the years is important to Volpara’s future, especially our utilisation of the powerful Azure Cloud platform for machine learning and product development,” said Ralph Highnam, chief science and innovation officer at Volpara. “Our mission and vision around the future of healthcare align well with Microsoft’s. Though we are in the early stages of BAC product development, this collaboration will accelerate our efforts as we advance science together.”

Microsoft’s software-as-a-service and cloud products have supported Volpara’s development of its core AI algorithm. The algorithm has been used to assess the breast composition of more than 14.5 million women through Volpara’s analysis over 60 million mammography and tomosynthesis images.

The BACs product will add a new dimension to regular breast screenings by providing important information about women’s cardiovascular health. This marks the company’s entrance into the cardiovascular disease market.

“With one in three deaths in New Zealand caused by cardiovascular disease, this new research and development collaboration means that, together, we can detect and identify earlier symptoms of heart disease in women,” said Matt Bostwick, partner lead at Microsoft New Zealand. “Volpara’s innovation with AI is not only improving healthcare across the globe, but it has the potential to save millions of lives. This is true AI for good.”

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