Friday, June 02, 2023
Ezra, a healthcare AI startup specializing in early cancer detection through full-body MRI screening, announced today that its newest proprietary Artificial Intelligence, Ezra Flash, has received clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Ezra Flash enhances the quality of MR images, allowing Ezra to shorten the time required for a high-quality scan and reducing the overall cost of MRI procedures. Leveraging this technology, Ezra plans to launch the world's first 30-minute full-body MRI scan.
In 2023, the American Cancer Society predicts that over 1.9 million people in the United States will receive a cancer diagnosis. Ezra, a company led by founder and CEO Emi Gal, has a mission to detect cancer early for individuals worldwide. Gal expressed enthusiasm about their new AI technology, which allows them to offer more affordable scans. By improving scan quality and reducing the time required, Ezra has managed to decrease the cost of a full body MRI by 30%, passing on these savings to their customers.
With the recent clearance from the FDA for Ezra Flash, the company has become the first globally to use AI across all three essential components of the cancer screening process: imaging, analysis, and reporting. Ezra Flash AI enhances the quality of MR images, while Ezra Prostate AI assists radiologists in analyzing prostate MR images. Additionally, Ezra Reporter AI provides easy-to-understand summaries of radiology reports, aiding medical professionals in communicating screening results effectively.
Ezra Flash has received clearance for brain imaging. Using a fast MRI protocol that generates noisy images, Ezra Flash effectively enhances the quality of these images. The AI was trained using Ezra's proprietary longitudinal MRI dataset, which comprises a large number of MR images from both patients and healthy individuals.
The AI was trained to identify the key elements of an MRI scan necessary for creating a complete and accurate image. This enabled Ezra to improve image quality in high-speed MRI scans that push the limits of the current standard of care. The AI's performance was rigorously validated through a multi-step process involving five radiologists who assessed its qualitative and quantitative capabilities. These medical experts played a crucial role in selecting an AI model that enhances MR images without obscuring any existing pathology.
Dr. Daniel K. Sodickson, a renowned biomedical imaging researcher and Chief of Innovation at NYU's Center for Advanced Imaging Innovation and Research, collaborated closely with Ezra's team of AI researchers, led by Emi Gal, in developing Ezra Flash.
Dr. Sodickson emphasized the significance of the FDA clearance for Ezra Flash, describing it as the beginning of a paradigm shift in medical imaging. He highlighted the progressive improvements in imaging speed over time and the numerous benefits they have already brought to patients and physicians. However, until now, imaging has primarily been used for diagnosing and characterizing diseases once symptoms have already appeared. Ezra, on the other hand, utilizes MRI as a tool for early cancer detection before symptoms manifest, providing proactive monitoring that was previously only accessible to patients with well- established risk factors. Ezra Flash will improve the accessibility of early-warning MRI, and Ezra's dataset of repeated scans over time will help minimize false positives, ensuring accurate and actionable warnings.
Since its launch in 2019, Ezra has offered individuals the opportunity for preventative, proactive, and ongoing cancer screening through their Full Body MRI. By monitoring for potential cancer and over 500 other conditions in up to 13 organs, Ezra enables the early detection of potential cancer and other diseases. When applicable, the company also utilizes low-dose chest CT scans for lung cancer screening and assessing the risk of heart disease.
Previously, the Ezra Full Body MRI took one hour and cost $1,950. Now, it is available as a 30-minute scan for $1,350, representing a 30% price reduction. Ezra's ultimate goal is to offer a 15-minute full body MRI scan for $500, a target they aim to achieve within the next two to three years.
Early cancer detection has an 80% survival rate, compared to less than 20% for late-stage cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. Ezra's scans have helped 13% of their members identify potential cancer, while almost three-quarters of members have discovered non-cancerous but clinically significant conditions (such as fatty liver disease, hernias, aneurysms, or vertebral disk bulges).
Ezra's Full Body MRI is currently available in select cities, including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, and Las Vegas. The company plans to expand its
services to more cities in the second half of 2023.
Ezra has garnered support from various investors and scientific advisors, including Esther Dyson, Anne Wojcicki, Jeff Raider, David Gilboa, Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee, Dr. Azra Raza, Dr. Oguz Akin, and others. The company has also received funding from FirstMark Capital, Accomplice, Seedcamp, Credo Ventures, and LDV Capital.