Eigen: The Imaging Technology Wizard Revamping the Prostate Biopsy

Medical industry being more patient-driven and open to technologies, multi-modality imaging technologies have already engendered a novel epoch in prostate biopsy. Nonetheless, larger technology providers in the segment show no signs of going after this opening with more innovations; instead, they merely strive to modify the conventional prostate biopsy and focus more on acquisition & strategy development to capture & maintain the market share. The results of this ‘modification’ are quite ill-famed - radiology & urology departments still lacking integration and ending up with side-effects of whole-gland treatment.

The need of the hour is fresh innovations. Creating synergy between radiology and urology departments in the medical field through cutting edge technologies is Eigen - a California based company that breathes innovation. The communication and trust between both these departments have been a ball-game from ages. Comprehending this crater, Eigen provides assistance to enable communication between doctors from either disciple by introducing a new paradigm of prostate biopsy powered by its innovative products - ProFuse (Radiology software), Artemis (Urology device) and its combinations. While ProFuse allows radiologists to read, interpret, plan and report on patient’s MRI, Artemis has two major functionalities - 3D navigation to any particular area of the prostate for taking a biopsy and fusion or matching of volumes acquired from MRI and ultrasound. With these two sparkling innovations, the company aids in reviewing the data prospectively and retrospectively by analyzing the cases with field experts and key opinion leaders (if needed), and in turn helps doctors to review and understand the technology completely.

A Matchless Set of Offerings

Currently, when a person undergoes a prostate biopsy, the urologists analyze live 2D ultrasound images and then free-hands the probe to different areas of the prostate to take samples from different regions in the gland. In other words, the doctor hopes to find some cancer cells by randomly sampling the gland from different regions. Herein lays the challenges. Ultrasound is a very poor modality to detect abnormal cells in the prostate and it has a high false-positive rate, and thus reduces the chance of detecting cancer. And also since the doctors free-hand the probe, there is no tracking available that allows the doctor to go back in case the biopsy sample finds cancer.

Here is where MRI comes into play with its high soft-tissue contrast, which helps to track the difference between normal and abnormal cells within the prostate. Thus, when a patient undergoes MRI scans, the radiologists take multiple different contrast images. This is analogues to taking a photo of an object using a standard optical lens, and in infrared & negative modes. Leveraging on these versatile contrasts and the ProFuse software - radiologists are able to mark out suspicious regions in the prostate.

Once the suspicious regions are marked, the ProFuseBx software (a software module in Artemis) transfers this information during the Artemis biopsy procedure. Artemis fuses or matches the MRI with the real-time ultrasound image and then using the semi-robotic arm, navigates to the spot as determined by MRI and
takes a biopsy. This paradigm since the Artemis device provides tracking information – this allows the urologist to go back to the same location in case the biopsy sample comes back positive for cancer. “Artemis on its own only provides the 3D navigational ability so that urologists can precisely target areas in the prostate to take biopsies. With ProFuseBx, Artemis displays the regions of interest that were marked on MRI in ultrasound reference, thereby allowing the doctor to navigate to the marked region to take a targeted fusion biopsy,” proclaims Dr. Mahtab Damda, President, Eigen. This is much better for the patient since the side effects of whole gland treatment or prostatectomy like incontinence are avoided.

Eigen’s rtemis/ProFuse powered prostate biopsy integratesseamlessly with existing state-of-the-art imaging technologies and empowers doctors to use its technology without having to change their existing equipment

In addition, the treatment also incorporates High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU), which ablates the cells by focusing ultrasound just like how you can create fire by using a magnifying glass and sunlight. Having good margins help to spare a lot of normal tissues since doctors would generally over-treat the region to make sure that all the cancer cells are ablated.

Eigen’s Artemis/ProFuse powered prostate biopsy integrates seamlessly with existing state-of-the-art imaging technologies in ultrasound & MRI from giants such as Hitachi, GE & Siemens, and thus empowers the end-doctors to use its technology without having to switch or change their existing equipment. “Our motto is to ‘solve unmet challenges in the medical field’. Alongside innovating disruptive technologies, we offer complete services including training for doctors & support staffs (including IT staffs), which also helps us to ascertain that the innovation is used properly and ultimately ensure highest quality in patient care. We are a company that does not compromise on quality,” asserts Dr. Mahtab.

The Heritage Built with Quality Blocks

Solidifying the whole diaspora from the moment of its inception four decades ago, Eigen carved itself a stellar reputation with its end-to-end delivery model and relentless imaging technology eliminates the randomness of prostate biopsy to find cancer and innovations - a one-of-a-kind proposition made as early as 1976. Zubair Kazi - a well-known businessman originally from food industry acquired Eigen eight years ago - to step into the cutting-edge medical technology arena. After four years, it on-boarded Dr. Mahtab as President, which was proven to be a game changing move.

Dr. Mahtab concocted an incredible team at Eigen who shared the same vision – innovation, and then devised an ocean of changes to the company. Besides developing products, he guided Eigen’s imaging scientists & engineers to work in the clinical application role, since most of the engineers don’t understand doctors’ difficulties when confronted with a new technology. The team was trained to note and improve the usability of the devices by observing doctors using the system. Also by participating in doctors’ training sessions the team was focused on looking at ways to increase the simplicity of use which led to an immense push towards improving the usability of Eigen’s software & device. A wonderful side effect was that training became much
faster as well. To add on was the introduction of loyal brands into the project, which conducted the company to top distributors all around the world. No wonder, Eigen (having FDA & CE mark clearance) today is a multinational imaging technology company having regulatory approvals from 10 countries, around 150+ systems installed till date, and Artemis &ProFuse used as diagnostic tools for prostate cancer at more than 20 major research universities including UCLA, Cornell, Emory, NYU and Stanford.

Time to Shift the Gear Again

As a recognized brand which is being distributed by MNCs like Siemens & Hitachi, Eigen is now shifting its gear to treat other organs (for cervical cancer, renal cancer, & ovarian cancer among many others), and foray into the world of therapeutics. “If Artemis has the ability to target biopsy needles into any particular region in the prostate, it should be able to target any therapeutic needle into the same region,” elucidates Dr. Mahtab. Hence naturally, one of the next logical of steps of Eigen is to support any needle based energy source for therapeutics, which would help doctors guide the needles to the exact location of the cancer and treat the regions with high a degree of accuracy. The company is currently working on different algorithms to determine optimal needle placement to increase the efficiency of the treatment zone. Another advancement coming out would be in the field of Computer Aided Detection (CAD) for assisting doctors in marking the regions of interest in ProFuse. Using sophisticated proprietary algorithms, Eigen is looking forward to automatically mark, grade and report regions that radiologists can then verify.

Though, it had a record-breaking success in the first quarter of this year, Eigen has no plan to slow down with the imaging technology. “Recently, there has been a trend of leveraging PET-CT (Positron Emission Tomography & Computed Tomography) images to do a fusion between CT & Ultrasound for a CT-ultrasound fusion based targeted prostate biopsy, because the PET tracers (which are sensitive in finding prostate cancer) are becoming easily available,” adds Dr. Mahtab. Following this trend, a lot of active researches are going on in this domain and Artemis is poised to exploit this turnaround by providing a fusion technology that works with PET-CT. “Another domain where we leverage technology is in the electronic Patient Health Information (ePHI) domain,” he concludes. Connectivity and workflow between different devices are gaining widespread popularity and Eigen takes pride in providing solutions that work with different ePHI technologies like PACS.


Key Management:

Dr. Mahtab Damda, President

Gained strength in leadership and basics of running a company from the businesses he was involved in yester years, Mahtab is a medical professional graduated from JSS medical college, Mysore. He did his schooling in Abu Dhabi Indian School. The strong combination of business and medical background helped him tremendously in taking Eigen to the next level.

Management Team: Dr.Michael Ahmadi (VP), Dr.Rajesh Venkataraman (R&D Manager), Dr.Saradwata Sarkar (Principal Scientist) & William Mandel (Director of Operations), Syed Arsal Zaidi (CFO).


Artemis with ProFuseBx

Offices: California (Headquarter) & Ireland.