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U Buffalo start-up using AI to assist surgeons during vascular surgery


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: October 13th, 2021

A start-up from the University at Buffalo (UB) is using artificial intelligence (AI) to improve the treatment of intracranial aneurysms and other vascular lesions in the brain.

QAS.AI is developing software that uses live video analysis in operating rooms to forecast how likely a selected treatment method is to succeed in a new patient, based on his or her current condition. The technology is meant to provide real-time information to help surgeons make informed decisions while operating on vascular lesions in the brain such as intracranial aneurysms.

“During a procedure, the surgical team conducts imaging to view the structure of blood vessels as the procedure is going on,” says Kelsey Sommer, QAS.AI chief operating officer and a UB PhD candidate in biomedical engineering.

“Our software uses this imaging data to make predictions during surgery,” adds Ciprian Ionita, CEO of QAS.AI and assistant professor at UB. “It guides you in deciding the treatment type. Are you going to use a stent or a coil, or both? The neurosurgeon has the ability to readjust the treatment in real time, during the intervention.”

The startup has received a $256,000 Small Business Technology Transfer award from the National Science Foundation  to further develop the software. QAS.AI plans to eventually expand the technology’s capabilities to target treatments for other vascular diseases such as atherosclerosis and ischemia.

“We want to see patients get the best health care,” says Sommer. “The main potential benefit is to reduce the rate of re-treatment. Re-treatment, involving another surgery, can come with so many complications and adds additional treatment cost. If we can improve outcomes from the initial surgery, the hope is that patients won’t have to come back in.”

Source: UBNow

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