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CSIRO to Help Develop AI Cranial Implant Design Tool

Image Credits: CSIRO, Press Release

An Australian healthcare software solutions provider has been awarded funding from the CSIRO Kick-Start Program to undertake a research project with the national science agency, focused on the development of an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based tool to automatically design replacement cranial implants.

The AI will be integrated into the provider’s Surgical Planning software for editing and review before the cranial implants are 3D printed. The tool will be validated by an Australian biotechnology company, with a comparative study to be conducted comparing existing cranial implant design processes and new design processes in a clinical environment. the biotech firm is targeting an estimated 1.1 million cranial procedures per annum globally.

The healthcare software solutions provider aims to deliver better health outcomes through patient-specific surgical guides and implants, with Scan to SurgeryTM combining Artificial Intelligence (AI), Virtual Surgical Planning (VSP) and medical 3D printing for an end-to-end surgical solution.

The company announced that they were awarded a Kick-Start voucher from Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, matching $50,000 of funding to conduct a project with CSIRO division to automatically generate cranial implants for craniotomies from CT scans.

The two tech firms have agreed in a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to validate the results with a dataset provided by the biotech company and conduct a comparative study, upon successful completion of the CSIRO Data61 project.

The second Kick-Start project follows the healthcare software solutions provider’s highly successful first Kick-Start collaboration with CSIRO, which developed a spinal segmentation model with >95% accuracy and will see the company’s technical team collaborate with CSIRO to integrate the model into the 3Dicom Virtual Surgical Planning software.

In addition to the $50,000 investment which is being dollar-matched by the CSIRO Kick-Start program, the firm’s contribution to the MOU includes the utilisation of its 3Dicom Surgical as the software platform upon which the Fully Automated Cranial Implant Tool will be developed, trialled, and commercialised, the provision of software development expertise; including for the AI, Segmentation, and volume rendering, and providing an initial training dataset for the AI algorithm.

Following this MOU, the two tech firms are to enter into formal transaction documents within 60 days that further detail the Project Scope and Timetable including contributions from each party, a Formal Collaboration Agreement and a Comparative Study Agreement.

The cranium is a highly complex shape, and the Company is very excited to be collaborating with Osteopore and their cutting-edge bioresorbable 3D printed lattice that not only uses 3D printing to generate the complex shapes required but also enables regenerative bone growth.

Whilst the scope of the MOU with Osteopore is limited to the provision of cranial datasets and a comparative study to test the accuracy and potential time savings provided by the automated generation of cranial implant designs, Singular Health believes that there are significant synergies with Osteopore and looks forward to future collaborations and commercialisation opportunities.

The project was made possible through CSIRO Kick-Start, an initiative that provides funding and support for innovative Australian start-ups and small businesses to access CSIRO’s research expertise and capabilities.

The Managing Director of the healthcare software solutions provider stated too often, advances in medical technology are made without the input of peers to focus on commercial priorities. Working with the biotech firm ensures the work and results will be objectively compared with existing techniques and paves the way for future collaborations and commercialisation opportunities.

The Chief Executive Officer of the biotech firm noted that this win-win formula brings future technologies to commercialisation faster so that surgeons have new solutions for their treatment strategy, and patients can be treated early to make the most of their body’s healing capacity.

The Research Lead from CSIRO’s Data61 stated that the partnership is a great example of how AI can be applied to advance the technology behind crucial medical procedures. This tool uses artificial intelligence (AI) to analyse the unique shape of a patient’s cranium from CT scans, enabling the creation of a patient-specific cranial implant model for 3D printing.

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