Spin-off obtains CE marking
31 March 2015
UAntwerp spin-off icometrix receives the coveted CE mark for its software MSmetrix. This software allows clinicians and radiologists to measure brain lesions and cerebral volumes of patients with Multiple Sclerosis.
Such measures have been used and validated in research protocols and clinical trials, but were not yet available for routine practice for MS. Thanks to the CE approval of MSmetrix, this advanced analysis technique is now available for individual patients in routine clinical practice.
Based on a standard brain MRI examination, MSmetrix measures the lesion load, whole brain and grey matter volumes, and cerebral atrophy. The results are summarised in an on-line report, and compared to the values of a healthy population and previous scans of the same patient. These measures help doctors to better assess disease progression in patients with Multiple Sclerosis.
Insights in each patient’s progress
Both neurologists and radiologists warmly welcome the new software-as-a-service. “Analyzing MRI scans with the human eye requires scrolling through several sets of images, which are a 2D representation of 3D structures. Therefore, assessing brain volume and MS lesions is difficult and time-consuming; most radiology reports are descriptive, and do not offer quantitative information,” says neuroradiologist Prof Paul M. Parizel of the University of Antwerp, Antwerp University Hospital and Vice-President of the European Society of Radiology. “Automated software can provide more precise measurements faster, and thus offer a significant improvement of the clinical follow-up of MS. Together with the expertise of radiologists and neurologists, these precise measurements allow for better treatment decisions for each individual patient,” continues Prof Parizel.
“In addition to being an inflammatory disease, MS also has a strong neurodegenerative component”, states Prof Barkhof, neuroradiologist of the VUMC in Amsterdam and world-expert in MRI of MS. “In this context, measures of brain volume loss and specifically of grey matter volume loss in individual MS patients are relevant biomarkers of disease progression. Objective measures from brain MRI scans can lead to a more personalized and evidence-based care for MS patients”, Prof Barkhof says.
“MS is a heterogeneous disease and it is very hard to predict how it will progress in one individual patient”, explains Dr Wim Van Hecke, co-founder of icometrix. “This is why it is a difficult task for MS neurologists to decide which treatment option would be best for each of their patients. Smart use of MRI images could help find answers. The aim of MSmetrix is to provide insights in each patient’s progress and each patient’s future“, Dr. Van Hecke concludes.
The CE mark has been appointed after a quality audit of MSmetrix and the quality system of icometrix by SGS, the world's leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company. Thanks to the CE mark, icometrix can start offering MSmetrix for use on individual patients in Europe, Canada and Australia.
Next to the CE marking, icometrix is also waiting for FDA-approval for MSmetrix, which will open doors for icometrix in clinical practice in the US. Therefore, they just opened their first US office in Boston last week. icometrix was founded four years ago and has now grown from a team of two to an international team of 20 people. With their extensive research background and by starting as a 'spin-of' company from the KU Leuven, University of Antwerp and Antwerp University Hospital, collaborations with research groups from all over the world followed naturally. Their international spirit in combination with their exceptional growth does not go unnoticed, as they have just been elected as fastest growing starter in Flanders (Belgium) by Trends.be.