A new U.S. patent awarded to Imaging Biometrics for its IB Zero G artificial intelligence (AI) software might do what the FDA and Radiology Community have been reluctant to do – restrict or eliminate the administration of gadolinium-based contrast agents (GBCAs) for MRIs.
As recently reported by AppliedRadiology and HealthImaging, the fully automated AI technology, called IB Zero G, accepts non-contrast medical images as inputs and produces a synthetic image series that mimics contrast-enhanced images of comparable diagnostic quality. The IB Zero G software is currently in the investigational stage, but according to the company, is compatible with all MRI scanner platforms.
AI could eliminate the risk of gadolinium retention.
The FDA has acknowledged that gadolinium can remain in the body for months and years after contrast administration in all patients who have MRIs with a GBCA. However, no one has acknowledged that long-term retention of this toxic metal causes harm in people with normal renal function, even though retained gadolinium has been found to cause a potentially fatal, systemic disease process known as Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis (NSF) in people with end-stage renal disease.
I believe the key to avoiding harm from gadolinium is to avoid retaining any amount of it.
If IB Zero G can provide high quality diagnostic images without the use of GBCAs, it could protect patients from the long-term effects of retained gadolinium. As Imaging Biometrics CEO Michael Schmainda said, “IB Zero G has the potential to significantly disrupt routine clinical workflows on a global basis and help millions of patients receive higher quality and safer MR exams.”
Hopefully, it will not take long for the IB Zero G AI technology to move from the investigational stage into routine use for what would have been GBCA-enhanced MRIs.
AppliedRadiology.com. June 24, 2021. https://appliedradiology.com/articles/patent-awarded-to-imaging-biometrics-for-no-contrast-mri-exams
HealthImaging.com. June 25, 2021. https://www.healthimaging.com/topics/ai-emerging-technologies/gadolinium-contrast-ai-software-us-patent
Food & Drug Administration. (2017). FDA Drug Safety Communication, December 19, 2017. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/drugs/drug-safety-and-availability/fda-drug-safety-communication-fda-warns-gadolinium-based-contrast-agents-gbcas-are-retained-body