Toronto medical software startup
plans to launch its new cancer diagnostic tool Reconcillio at the American Society for Radiation Oncology conference in Florida early next week. Founder and CEO Dr. Hamid Tizhoosh says the product represents the culmination of his company's work and could eventually "revolutionize oncology."
Reconcillio is an automated "contouring" tool that learns from doctors as they outline tumors for diagnostic, treatment planning and monitoring purposes. Each oncologist will have his or her own style of contouring, and often several doctors will need to spend hours separately performing the process to reach consensus. The software learns different doctors' styles and can then apply them to new medical images. It can provide "consensus contours" showing how multiple doctors in a hospital would contour the image. And Tizhoosh says eventually, it could provide a cloud-based tool containing the consensus of all 5,000 or so oncologists in North America.
The company's history, Tizhoosh says, goes back to when his grandfather died of lung cancer. Then an engineer, Tizhoosh vowed to fight cancer. "I had young children at that point, so it was a risky move, but I decided to do a PhD in medical imaging." Originally born in Iran, Tizhoosh was based in Germany, but moved to Canada in 2000 and took a job as a professor at Waterloo University. It was there he set up a research team to develop his software, and by 2007, he had a prototype.
Tizhoosh says the company established itself with grants and venture capital financing in downtown Toronto because the access to world-class cancer hospitals was too good an asset to ignore (though the commute to Waterloo where he continues to teach is sometimes difficult). In the past year, the company, based at the MaRS incubator, has growing from to five from three staff, and expects to relocate to its own offices early next year. Reconcillio will be the third product the company has launched--its second, the engine that will eventually drive Reconcillio, is awaiting FDA approvals. Tizhoosh expects to receive those next month. From there, more financing will be made available and the company will begin the approvals process for Reconcillio.
Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Dr. Hamid Tizhoosh, CEO, Segasist Technologies