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DynaLIFE and AltaML’s Colon Polyp Project to Begin the Digitization of Pathology in Alberta

August 13, 2019 3 min read
AltaML Updates

New partnership will use digital pathology to propel lab services to the next level

DynaLIFE and AltaML are partnering to innovate the world of pathology in Alberta into the 21st century through the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) applications for diagnostic health care with its first project focusing on colon polyp identification and analysis. The anticipated solution will not only translate into greater efficiency and scalability in the laboratory environment, but also better patient outcomes.

“The pathology lab is the foundation of health care in understanding and diagnosing diseases but its methodologies have largely remained unchanged for the last 150 years,” says Jason Pincock, CEO of DynaLIFE. “And at DynaLIFE, our focus has always been providing leading-edge patient care by ensuring our people and facilities are world-class in our knowledge, lab equipment and infrastructure. Partnering with AltaML where it allows both organizations to learn, grow and adapt together is crucial as we recognize that technology and the transformative power of digitization in the health and life sciences sector is ever increasing at a rapid rate.”

Similar to DynaLIFE, AltaML is a homegrown Edmonton-based company. Launched in January 2018, the startup has an impressive track record and growing portfolio of future-focused machine learning and software solutions across industries.

“We help organizations leverage their data to uncover powerful insights,” said Cory Janssen, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of AltaML. “Our initial work with DynaLIFE focuses on augmenting pathologists and making better decisions. ML is about reducing the cost and time to make predictions, allowing the pathologists to focus on more critical tasks.”

AltaML, a local AI and machine learning company, will develop the machine learning algorithms to pull together the different datasets, uncovering predictions and patterns to solve key questions that physicians are asking patients.

“We are thrilled to be part of the project at the ground-level,” said Janssen. “In order to apply AI to any sector, we have to have a clear understanding of the problem. Working directly with the physicians and the other partners on this project means that we can develop a better and more robust solution.”

While efficiency is a huge driver, digitization will also make the work of pathologists less cumbersome. At present, colon tissue samples are biopsied by a gastroenterologist and then sent to the laboratory where they are embedded in a paraffin block and sectioned to produce glass slides for interpretation by a pathologist.

Due to the small size of polyps the initial sections of the tissue may not be entirely representative of the biopsy sample. As a result more time and effort is spent obtaining deeper sections of the tissue block, causing delay in the diagnosis. Application of ML on digital images of colon biopsies offers potential for better triage of such cases, expediting the diagnosis

“With machine learning and artificial intelligence systems, we can significantly improve on the existing process, enhance accuracy and speed diagnosis,” says Pincock. “Not only will we have a reliable predictive tool at our fingertips, we will have access to enhanced digital storage as well as better information sharing capacity and retrieval within our networks.”

DynaLIFE is the only diagnostic laboratory in Alberta with a high-speed/high-resolution digital scanner for histology slides and AltaML has 32 highly trained data science team members eager to apply their skills in improving the outcomes in our health care system.

About AltaML

AltaML is a leading developer of artificial intelligence (AI)-powered solutions. Working with organizations that want to use AI to leverage their data to develop solutions that drive tangible business results, AltaML empowers partners to create operational efficiency, reduce risks and generate new sources of revenue. Through a deep understanding of organizational pain points and challenges, AltaML’s solutions encompass the entire machine learning (ML) life cycle, from evaluating potential use cases and determining feasibility to piloting solutions, putting code into production, and ensuring model evolution.

About DynaLIFE

Headquartered in Edmonton, Alberta, DynaLIFE Medical Labs is a major Canadian medical laboratory offering a complete range of diagnostic testing services. Through its approximately 1000 laboratory employees working at more than 30 sites including hospital laboratories, community patient care centres, and our central facility, DynaLIFE services more than 2000 physicians and one million patients conducting more than 175 million routine and specialized laboratory tests annually. Its central state-ofthe-art facility located in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada performs more than 18 million tests alone, each year.

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