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AI-powered diagnostic retinal scans can help prevent heart and kidney disease

AI-powered diagnostic retinal scans can help prevent heart and kidney disease

South Korea-based Mediwhale made waves in the United States when its science teams spoke last week at three US conferences focused on cardiovascular and kidney health.

In the lead-up to the FDA approval process, Mediwhale has delivered results from its Reti-Intelligence suite of diagnostic solutions that combine simple retinal scanning with advanced artificial intelligence to detect major health issues. In November, Mediwhale presented at the American Heart Association (AHA) meeting in Chicago, the American Society of Nephrology’s (ASN) Kidney Week in Orlando, Florida, and Hospitals Meet with HeartX in Arkansas, a biotech accelerator to grow start-ups focused on disease Cardiovascular Collaboration.

According to Kevin T. Choi, co-founder and CEO, the company was looking to bring its products to the United States, as it represented an opportunity to provide affordable, accessible, and accurate preventative care to improve the health of more than 300 million people. People.

“Our products are non-invasive, which means patients avoid both the radiation risks from a CT scan and the inconveniences and inconveniences from blood tests,” he said in a press release. “Our products are used in the family doctor’s office, eliminating the need to visit a specialist or hospital, and are easy to use for healthcare professionals.”

According to the press release, Reti-Intelligence uses deep learning algorithms to detect disease risks even before symptoms appear. It makes use of non-invasive retinal scans along with extensively trained algorithms to conveniently diagnose the disease for both the patient and the clinician. The eye is the only organ in the body where the blood vessels are directly visible without any surgical procedures.

Mediwhale focuses on cardiovascular health (Reti-CVD) and kidney health (Reti-CKD). The accuracy and reliability of Reti-Intelligence has already led to approvals in Asia and Europe. Reti-CVD predicts future cardiovascular disease risk with the same accuracy as cardiac CT and Reti-CKD scans that yield better risk prediction results than conventional blood or urine tests. Since initial approvals, the algorithms have been further improved, with deep learning drawing on more than 500,000 global and growing data sets.

Reti-Intelligence uses a simple base camera to take pictures of the eye, and then within a minute, an AI algorithm provides an assessment of disease risk. The general practitioner can perform retinal imaging and if a high disease risk is detected, the patient can be referred to a specialist for additional tests. An initial evaluation by a family physician can save patients money and time, with waiting times to see specialists often exceeding a month. Early detection is key in avoiding a potentially irreversible health problem.

Mediwhale’s journey began in 2016 when the founders met under unfortunate circumstances. It was Kevin T. Choi, a recent graduate student, is a patient of Dr. Tyler H. Rimm, a retinal and vitreous surgeon, being treated for advanced glaucoma.

The diagnosis came too late, and Choi lost nearly 40 percent of his sight. After treatment, Choi and Rim shared a strong interest in using machine learning to help with prevention, and together they founded Mediwhale to make it happen. They are determined to develop non-invasive technology and to bridge the healthcare gap between medical professionals and societies by enabling individuals to learn about health risks early.

Solving the final piece of the startup puzzle, Choi and Rim added award-winning computer scientist Young G. Lee to build the algorithm and artificial intelligence solutions that Mediwhale is leading today. Choi holds the position of CEO; Reem is chief medical officer and me is chief technology officer.

According to the company’s news release, Mediwhale plans to enter the US market, pending FDA approval expected by the end of 2023. The ability to diagnose cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk is particularly needed in the United States, where heart disease is the most Vascular disease is the leading cause of death for Americans. The benefits of Reti-CVD drew attention from the American Heart Association as Mediwhale’s chief medical officer spoke on November 7. In addition, Mediwhale was one of only five companies selected for the new batch of HeartX and five hospitals agreed to bring life-saving Reti-CVD to their institutions and begin clinical studies to screen patients. Kidney health, another major health problem in the United States, will also benefit from Mediwhale’s offerings. The Reti-CKD technology is believed to be the first of its kind to use AI retinal scanning to assess and predict kidney health.

Mediwhale is growing with the support of investors from all over the world, including in the United States. The next round of financing is expected to close this quarter and will provide the resources to continue expanding into new territories in 2023.


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