ISMETT, new imaging laboratory inaugurated to start big data and radiomics projects

State-of-the-art equipment to launch projects on big data and radiomics, the most innovative branch of medical imaging research. ISMETT, The Ri.MED Foundation, and UPMC are preparing to start precision medicine projects thanks to the new Imaging Laboratory, which was inaugurated today in the presence of Nello Musumeci, President of the Region of Sicily, Ruggero Razza, Regional Health Commissioner, and Mimmo Turano, Regional Commissioner for Economic Development.

The goal of precision medicine is to create personalized care pathways, thanks to the acquisition of clinical, genomic, proteomic, and imaging data, which, after being analyzed through artificial intelligence systems, allow clinicians to identify the most suitable treatment for the individual patients. Radiomics is part of the great challenge of precision medicine.

The new equipment now in use in the new Imaging Laboratory at ISMETT will allow doctors and researchers to have increasingly precise and detailed tests, and above all to obtain data that are not visible by the operator and that can be stored in large-capacity systems. Here data can be analyzed using artificial intelligence mathematical algorithms, such as machine learning and deep learning. This will allow health care professionals to acquire precious information, not only on severe diseases such as cancer, but also on the response of patients to treatments. Ultimately, new personalized clinical approaches will be indicated to groups of patients and new treatments or preventive methods will be determined.

This is the new frontier of medicine, going from standard therapies for all to care pathways for smaller groups of patients, with greater possibilities to cure illness, and thus avoiding unnecessary treatments that expose patients to unjustified risks and higher health care costs. The project will have the full support of UPMC, which has already created a Big Data platform for Business Intelligence and Research at the Hillman Cancer Center in Pittsburgh.

The investment to purchase the above equipment was co-financed by the Department of Economic Development of the Region of Sicily, through the PO FESR Sicily 2014-2020 funds. The purpose of the investment is to further strengthen and consolidate the research infrastructure already at ISMETT through the acquisition of new technologies to improve the infrastructural, organizational, and collaborative components.

The new innovative pieces of equipment consist of a Dual Source-Dual Energy CT scan, which can study the entire aorta in less than a second, a CT Spect, which combines nuclear medicine with CT technology, and a new-generation digital angiograph with cone beam CT scan technology, the first one to be employed in Italy. This is an important investment, and one that sees the involvement of ISMETT, The Ri.MED Foundation, and the Region of Sicily. The investment will further strengthen the already-existing research laboratories, in addition to the realization of a new GMP facility for cell therapies, a 3D printing laboratory to further personalize surgical operations, and a sensor laboratory to develop Internet of Things (IoT) devices and collect not only clinical and laboratory data but also environmental, pollutant, lifestyle, and health data.”