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U of Iowa start-up develops affordable AI technology to diagnose and prevent diabetic retinopathy


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: November 8th, 2017

A start-up at the University of Iowa (UI) has developed an artificial intelligence technology to diagnose diabetic retinopathy and prevent blindness in diabetes patients.

IDx has is seeking FDA approval for the innovation now that it has completed clinical trials with 900 patients. If approved, says founder and co-developer Michael Abramoff, the AI technology could preserve the vision of many diabetes patients, reduce millions in spending on health care, give primary care providers a relatively simple diagnostic tool, and lay the groundwork for similar technologies in the future.

 “It’s a win for the person with diabetes, the patient, because it’s more affordable,” says Abramoff. “Health care is too expensive in the U.S. … and so if it drives down the cost, it will really help solve a lot of problems.

 “For primary care,” Abramoff adds, “it’s a great win because they can keep their patients under their management — they don’t have to refer to someone like me.”

IDx is expanding its research and raising funds to address other vision-impairing conditions like glaucoma and macular degeneration. The start-up has secured roughly $7 million in grants from the National Institutes of Health and about $22 million in angel investments. The UI Research Foundation has contributed resources to support the start-up in exchange for royalties and an equity stake in the company.

Source: The Gazette

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