iCAD, Inc., which designs, develops and markets Computer Aided Detection (CAD) imaging technology and systems for the early detection of breast cancer and other medical applications, today announced that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has issued the Company two patents for its Fulcrum mammography film digitizer and technology.
The Fulcrum digitizer is a critical, cost-saving component in iCAD's Second Look® 200 CAD product and in its planned ClickCAD fee-per-service marketing program. Both the Second Look 200 product and the ClickCAD program are designed for lower case-volume mammography clinics, which the Company estimates comprise one-half to two-thirds of the potential overall market for computer aided detection of breast cancer products.
The Fulcrum digitizer and Second Look 200 CAD solution utilize a proprietary imaging and electro-optical technology developed by iCAD. The new Red Hot light source, which is specifically tuned to illuminate detail in mammograms, is combined with a fast, maintenance-free, full-width image sensor to capture full structural detail and maximum image fidelity across the full range of light intensity from each film.
The Fulcrum is designed to operate as a conventional digitizer or with a fully-integrated computer, thus permitting stand-alone utilization as a workstation or network-based scanner/server. Because of iCAD's innovative design, the Fulcrum technology substantially reduces the Company's film digitizer and Second Look 200 manufacturing costs. Such cost reductions allow iCAD to provide computer aided detection solutions that are increasingly affordable to the large number of women's health centers and clinics performing less than 20 mammography cases per day.
"iCAD is the only independent developer of integrated digitizer hardware and CAD software," commented W. Scott Parr, President and Chief Executive Officer of iCAD, Inc. "These patents reflect the unique advantage that our vertical integration provides in the development of products that support our efforts to make CAD accessible to all women concerned with the risk of breast cancer."
US Patent 6,687,025 covers an innovative approach that allows fast and accurate edge-to-edge digitization of mammograms and other X-ray films. iCAD's invention provides a comparatively inexpensive solution to the problem of stray light entering at the edges of radiographic images. The patent, which has 24 approved claims, relates to the fast, full-width imaging technology developed by iCAD for use in its Fulcrum digitizers and Second Look 200 CAD product line.
The second patent (US Patent 6,697,173), which has 18 allowable claims, relates to potential future enhancements of the Fulcrum digitizer. This patent covers a novel approach to calibration of the baseline white reference that is specific to digitizers utilized for both film and paper scanning.
"Our new patents add to iCAD's strong Intellectual Property portfolio," continued Parr. "To date, iCAD has applied for over 44 patents relating to current and future medical applications involving iCAD's technology and products. We have been granted 14 patents, including a broad set of claims covering the combination of computer analysis of mammography data and human analysis of the same information in breast cancer detection, and use of the concept for medical imaging applications involving other diseases."
In addition to its integrated role in iCAD's Second Look 200 product line, iCAD markets the Fulcrum digitizer to resellers and OEM's for utilization in telemedicine, medical picture archiving and communications (PACS) and non-destructive testing applications.