RETICAD - RETINAL ANALYSIS
Diabetes Mellitus (DM) is an emergent, common and costly public health problem. In the USA and Canada, over 9.0% of the population are estimated to have diabetes. That adds up to 3.4 million Canadians, with this number expected to grow to 5 million (12.1%) by 2025. Most patients with DM will suffer from vascular complications at some point during their lives, including leaky vessels - an early and key pathogenic event.
Once the integrity of blood vessels is compromised, vascular complications commonly progress to end organ failure, including:
loss of vision (retinopathy)
kidney failure (nephropathy)
weakness and pain (neuropathy)
as well as major brain complications such as:
The majority of DM patients will develop gradual loss of vision over the course of the disease.
The Current state of affairs
The current diagnostic procedure includes routine ophthalmological evaluations, and a direct assessment of vessels health via a procedure known as Fluorescein Angiography, or FA. During an FA scan, a fluorescent tracer is injected into the patient vein, and a series of digital photographs of the retina are taken over a period of 5 to 15 minutes to visualize the flow and distribution of the tracer in the patient's retinal blood vessels.
The current method for interpretation of these studies is sub-optimal, since:
The FA imaging generates 30-50 images that are interpreted manually in a time consuming manner by a retinal specialist searching for evidence of leakage and other pathologies;
The interpretation is subjective and dependent on the experience and expertise of the physician;
It is not sensitive to detect subtle early changes; and
It is not quantitative and thus difficult to follow changes during disease course and response to treatment.
Although emerging therapeutic solutions are now available (for example, laser photocoagulation and anti-VEGF eye injections), to date, there is no objective, quantitative and sensitive method to allow the early detection of patients that will benefit from early intervention, to objectively monitor disease progression, and to compare the effectiveness of different therapeutic treatments, and identify new targets for interventions.
Emagix’s technology employs mathematical analysis, image processing algorithms and computational power to detect and quantify diseases blood vessels in the retina. Our algorithm maps the vessels supplying the retina, and then generates permeability and perfusion maps to allow the identification of subtle and otherwise difficult to detect microvascular changes.
The Company’s patented technology merges all of the imaging information into a one stand-alone interface that reveals the dynamics hidden in the stream of imaging data and allows for a rapid identification of leakage and reduced blood flow in an accurate, objective and quantitative manner.
In the Company’s first published study (Serlin et al. PLoSONE, 2013), FA images were analyzed from diabetic patients and healthy controls. It was demonstrated that generation of permeability maps facilitates the detection of subtle pathologies and improves identification of affected regions within the retina. It was further shown that these permeability maps improve the diagnostic consensus between physicians (retinal experts). Emagix has built upon this initial success to deliver a common modality that provides early and accurate diagnosis, leading to earlier treatment with sight saving interventions.
With the growth in the number of people affected by diabetes, Emagix has decided to focus its first efforts on preventing the devastating consequence of visual loss in diabetic patients. The Company envisages it’s our technology as a game-changer that will permit the identification of subtle changes in vascular function, as well as providing an objective assessment of both disease progression and response to treatment.
The end result will improve patient care and save money. Patient care will be improved by earlier and more accurate diagnosis, improved consensus between physicians, and a better estimation on drug efficacy - allowing earlier selection of alternate treatment paths in cases of drug failure. Direct costs will be lowered due to faster, easier FA interpretation by physicians, and indirect costs will be significantly lowered due to earlier and better treatment that may prevent blindness in a large number of patients with diabetes.