Verily, an Alphabet company founded at the convergence of healthcare, data science and technology, has announced the opening of its new research and development center in Israel. The Verily Israel team will focus on applying artificial intelligence techniques to important biomedical problems, including applications in endoscopy, minimally invasive surgery and other imaging modalities.
The center will advance early research conducted by Google Health and Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center, overseen by Shaare Zedek Scientific and the hospital’s Innovation Center, on the application of AI in detection of colonic polyps, which was recently published in Gastrointestinal Endoscopy and discussed in detail in a blog post published today by Google. Patients who chose to participate in the trial, which was approved by the hospital’s Institutional Review Board (IRB), signed informed consent forms (ICF), and the study complied with all requirements set by local regulators and the Ministry of Health.
In addition to a retrospective study involving nearly 1400 hours of colonoscopy video, the research team also ran a preliminary prospective validation study on 100 procedures at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem where the AI system worked in real time helping the gastroenterologists. The objective of the validation was to determine whether the application of AI could improve the detection of colonic polyps versus human evaluation alone. The system helped detect an average of one polyp per procedure that would have otherwise been missed by the gastroenterologists performing the procedure, while not missing any of the polyps detected by the gastroenterologists, and with less than four false positives per procedure.
“Through this collaboration, we have introduced a highly precise model using AI to identify and map colonic polyps in ways that will enhance diagnosis and treatment. This represents how close partnerships between clinical and technology leaders can have very significant and lasting benefits for the medical community,” said Prof. Eran Goldin, Director of the Digestive Diseases Institute at Shaare Zedek.
“AI has great potential impact in healthcare and biomedicine, and the research collaboration between Google Health and Shaare Zedek shows the promise of using AI for medical applications. We’re excited about Verily coming to Israel, advancing the research collaborations, and bringing together Verily’s approach to healthcare, data science and technology with Israeli innovation and its advanced healthcare system,” said Yossi Matias, Vice President, Engineering & Research at Google and Head of Google’s Engineering Center in Israel.
The Verily Israel team will be co-located with Google in Haifa and Tel Aviv, Israel, and will be led by Ehud Rivlin, Professor of Computer Science at the Technion, who worked with Google Health and recently joined Verily as Israel Site Lead.
“Israel, often referred to as the start-up nation, has a culture of innovation and a strong track record of success in accelerating technological developments,” said Ehud Rivlin, Verily Israel Site Lead. “The country has excellent academic institutions all within a short distance of our offices, providing the opportunity for easy collaboration. Israel has a vibrant health ecosystem that is ideally suited for innovation. Israel’s population is covered entirely by four HMOs with more than 20 years’ history of digitization. Beside the ability to provide better healthcare, this unique scenario has helped to create an impressive number of startups in healthcare. The country is eager to move healthcare forward via innovation, and has fostered a strong R&D ecosystem. Hospitals and HMOs are looking to innovate and we are looking forward to partnering with them. We are looking forward to fulfilling Verily’s vision here in Israel, contributing both to Verily and to the wider Israel healthcare system.”
Verily is currently looking for scientists, engineers, product managers and researchers with deep technical skills to join its growing team in Israel. Individuals interested in joining Verily should visit verily.com/roles/?q=Israel