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Case Western Reserve University and University Hospitals receive $6.2 million for A.I. research

Case Western Reserve University and University Hospitals have received $6.2 million for research regarding artificial intelligence.

CLEVELAND — Over the course of the past few years, artificial intelligence (A.I.) has become prevalent in several fields.

That includes the world of healthcare, with two Cleveland institutions set to perform major research in the matter.

On Monday, Case Western Reserve University and University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Centers (UH) announced that they have received $6.2 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to perform research regarding A.I.'s ability to predict cardiovascular disease. According to a release, "the study will employ cutting-edge AI techniques using machine- and deep-learning models to recognize complex patterns in medical images to produce precise insights and predictions."

The study will be co-led by the following:

  • Sanjay Rajagopalan, MD, chief of the division of cardiovascular medicine, chief academic and scientific officer of UH Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute
  • Herman K. Hellerstein, MD, chair in Cardiovascular Research
  • David Wilson, PhD, the Robert Herbold Professor of Biomedical Engineering (BME) at Case Western Reserve, an expert in imaging AI

Additional leadership support will be provided by Sadeer Al-Kindi, MD, co-director, Center for Integrated and Novel Approaches and associate professor at the School of Medicine, and Satish Viswanath, PhD, assistant professor at the School of Medicine.

“The CLARIFY registry embodies the transformative mission of UH to democratize newer personalized approaches,” Rajagopalan, also a CWRU professor of medicine and director of the university’s Cardiovascular Research Institute, said in a statement. “With the help of AI and machine-learning, these grants will help usher a new era of predictive health analytics to automate risk assessment and, more importantly, empower patients to seek care to reduce their cardiovascular risk. The multidisciplinary team that we have assembled here between engineering and medicine is absolutely essential to solve difficult problems.”

A release noted that CT calcium scoring is the most accurate predictor of future severe cardiovascular risks. A CT scan of the patient's chest can be used by medical professionals to assess the amount of calcium in the coronary arteries and suggest the best course of treatment, which may include aspirin, blood-pressure medication, and cholesterol-lowering drugs. 

All aspects of such images, including calcifications throughout the heart as well as fat deposits around the heart to allow even better future predictions, will be examined in the new research.

News of the grant comes six years after Daniel Simon, MD, Rajagopalan and Robert Gilkeson, MD, launched a free CT calcium scoring program at UH. 

“The clinical colleagues at University Hospitals were foresighted in developing the CT calcium score program and the CLARIFY registry, which was beneficial for the clinical community,” Wilson said. “We have a substantial amount of data that has been gathered throughout the years that AI can examine.”

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