Artificial intelligence and medicine: Is it overhyped?

Artificial intelligence raises exciting possibilities for healthcare, but are companies promising more than they can deliver?

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AI could possibly fuel the future of medtech, enabling such thrilling innovations as implanted devices that instantly react to minute changes, software that can identify the best treatment options for individuals facing life-threatening conditions and fully-functioning autonomous surgical systems.

But artificial intelligence’s potential also comes with an incredible level of hype.

“AI has the most transformative potential of anything I’ve seen in my life, and I graduated medical school 40 years ago. It’s the biggest thing I’ve ever seen by far,” prominent cardiologist and author Dr. Eric Topol told our sister site Medical Design & Outsourcing. “But it’s more in promise than it is in reality.”

Get the full story on MDO. 

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Nvidia, Scripps look to tackle atrial fibrillation with deep learning

Nvidia, Scripps logoNvidia (NSDQ:NVDA) and Scripps Research Translational Institute announced today that the groups are teaming up to develop deep learning tools to process genomic and medical sensor data.

The tech giant and the non-profit research org hope to leverage artificial intelligence to prevent disease and accelerate biomedical research efforts.

The use of AI in healthcare is currently limited to medical imaging, Scripps’ founder & director Dr. Eric Topol noted in a call with reporters last week. Topol said he expects that deep learning techniques could be used to analyze entire genomic sequences and data from continuous medical sensors, generating insights into disease prevention.

The Nvidia-Scripps team will first focus on creating tools to help predict atrial fibrillation, with an eye on exploring other diseases and datasets down the road – including blood pressure monitoring and blood glucose.

“AI has tremendous promise to transform the future of medicine,” Topol said in prepared remarks. “With Nvidia, we aim to establish a center of excellence for artificial intelligence in genomics and digital sensors, with the ultimate goal of developing best practices, tools and AI infrastructure for broader adoption and application by the biomedical research community.”

“AI is already transforming healthcare by using electronic health records and medical imaging to better diagnose and treat disease,” Kimberly Powell, VP of healthcare at Nvidia, added. “Our collaboration with Scripps expands these opportunities by tapping into the rapid accessibility of genomic and digital wearable data, and furthers the quest to better predict and prevent disease.”

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ACC ’18 Roundup: Abbott releases long-term HeartMate 3 data

Abbott (NYSE:ABT) touted two-year data yesterday from its trial designed to compare the company’s HeartMate 3 left ventricular assist device to its HeartMate 2 device in patients with advanced heart failure.

Data from the study were published in The New England Journal of Medicine and presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 67th Annual Scientific Session.

More than 1,000 patients participated in the study. Researchers assessed the trial’s participants for a short-term endpoint of six months and long-term endpoint of two years.

The two-year cohort met its primary endpoint, achieving 77.9% event-free survival – topping the 56.4% rate seen in patients treated with the HeartMate II LVAD.

Patients treated with the HeartMate 3 device had a survival rate of 82.8% after two years, compared to 76.2% for the HeartMate II group. Abbott also reported that low pump thrombosis rates remained low at 1.2% for the HeartMate 3 group, with no reoperations or pump replacements needed at two years.

Finally, the stroke rate in the HeartMate 2 group was 19% compared to just 10% for the patients treated with HeartMate 3.

“The long-term data for the pivotal Momentum 3 trial demonstrate overall survival of 83% at 2-years and marked improvement in clinical outcomes for our patients suffering with advanced heart failure,” Dr. Mandeep Mehra, medical director of Brigham and Women’s Hospital Heart and Vascular Center, said in prepared remarks. “We have seen greater pump durability—mostly driven by an absence of confirmed pump thrombosis—as well as a significantly lowered stroke rate without an increase in other adverse events.”

“As the leader in LVAD therapy, our goal is to provide patients with life-changing health technology that minimizes risk and offers them an enhanced quality of life. Data from the Momentum 3 study show Abbott’s significant progress in LVAD innovation and how it’s improving patient health outcomes,” Dr. John O’Connell, medical director for Abbott’s mechanical circulatory support business, added.

Abbott’s HeartMate 3 LVAD has CE Mark clearance in the E.U. and is approved by the FDA in the U.S. for short-term use. The company plans to use data from its Momentum 3 trial to support an regulatory bid for a long-term indication for HeartMate 3 in the U.S.

NEXT: Philips touts NEJM study on iFR v. FFR

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