Radiopharmaceutical therapy (RPT) is a new and underutilized cancer therapy modality that has shown tremendous potential and is the subject of intense recent interest. Dosimetry is essential in clinical trials that seek to validate radiopharmaceutical therapeutics or diagnostic agents. Drs. George Sgouros, Eric Frey and Michael Ghaly at Johns Hopkins University founded Radiopharmaceutical Imaging and Dosimetry, LLC (RAPID) to offer comprehensive centralized imaging and dosimetry solutions based on IP developed over years of NIH-funded research.
Like many other companies in the medical and biomedical business sectors, Kitware has been providing research, development, and technology-integration services to RAPID. The two began their collaboration in 2015 under a grant from the Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO).
The Company: RAPID
RAPID specializes in estimating pre-therapy normal tissue dosimetry, which helps to predict normal organ toxicity, and tumor dosimetry, which provides a prediction of tumor response. Together, these can provide optimal patient-specific dosing of RPTs. The center of RAPID’s current business plan is to provide these services to drug developers.
Need: Why RAPID came to Kitware?
The technology base for RAPID’s services is comprised of expert-friendly research software. Using this software, dosimetry calculations required numerous data and metadata format conversions and the use of 3rd party image analysis tools. The software was inefficient to use, unsuited for operation by technicians, and thus not economically viable or scalable. What RAPID needed was a professional software development company to help provide a streamlined interface and workflow that could be deployed to non-expert users.
Kitware and RAPID teamed to develop RPTDose, a 3D Slicer-based application that streamlines and integrates quantitative imaging analysis and dose estimation techniques to guide and optimize the use of radiopharmaceutical therapy agents in clinical trials. Basing the software on slicer enabled the use of the powerful image analysis capabilities inherent in slicer. This software assists RAPID’s scientists and technologists in providing results and reports to customers. RPTDose implements a patient-centered data model and workflow. The user provides protocol parameters and patient-specific information in the initial setup modules. These modules help select the input images and required for each patient under a RPT-specific protocol. RPTDose leverages 3D Slicer’s Subject Hierarchy to manage images that are imported from Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) files alongside images that are generated by the processing pipeline. The processing pipeline consists of image segmentation and registration, followed by custom reconstruction and dosimetry processing implemented through 3D Slicer command-line interfaces. A data organization module facilitates the explicit labeling of input images from the DICOM import process, as well as the removal of extraneous images that would otherwise clutter the 3D Slicer scene. Later in the pipeline, parameters and image identifiers from the setup modules are made available to downstream modules to allow for the pre-population of inputs and the customization of graphical user interfaces based on the protocol.
An initial prototype of RPTDose was recently completed. The prototype will go through a series of validation processes, improvements, and refinements. The initial phase of the project was funded by a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant that was awarded to RAPID by the National Cancer Institute.
The project provides just one example of how Kitware partners with technology companies to build powerful applications using open-source solutions such as 3D Slicer. For other examples of Kitware’s work on collaborative projects, please read its “Kitware customer highlight” series. To learn more, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.