The Open Source Imaging Consortium (OSIC) and Siemens Healthineers have recently signed a cooperation that aims to achieve rapid advances in the fight against idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) and other progressive interstitial lung diseases (ILDs). OSIC is a partnership of academia, industry and philanthropy that is based in Holland, Michigan, USA.
Progressive ILDs are characterized by deteriorating lung function and are usually fatal. Their causes largely remain a mystery. More than 200 different lung diseases are classified in this group, and they affect a large group of individuals: Experts estimate that more than 30,000 people in 27 countries in the EU are diagnosed with idiopathic interstitial lung diseases each year. 
“We are thrilled to have Siemens Healthineers join Boehringer-Ingelheim and Three Lakes Partners as a founding member in the not-for-profit OSIC,” says Elizabeth Estes, Executive Director of OSIC. “Being a market leader in diagnostic imaging with an established commitment for innovation and expanding precision medicine, Siemens Healthineers is the perfect partner to help us in our fight against interstitial lung disease. Along with leading academic medical centers, this partnership will bring together the world’s best pulmonologists, radiologists and artificial intelligence experts in an open source, collaborative effort in order to speed diagnosis, aid prognosis, and provide response to therapy for patients battling ILDs. There is excitement and energy around this initiative and Siemens Healthineers participation has increased it all the more.”
Christian Wolfrum, head of New Business Development at Siemens Healthineers, will represent the company on the consortium’s Executive Board. “OSIC is an excellent example of the way that new, high-impact solutions for patients can be developed when pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, and medical technology join forces,” he says. Today, it frequently takes up to two years after symptoms first appear before a patient receives the correct diagnosis and starts the right therapy. The partners want to use state-of-the-art technology to significantly shorten this period.
The consortium is using artificial intelligence in its work to shed light on these diseases. The idea is to apply computer algorithms, that is, machine learning, to find patterns in the largest possible number of high-resolution CT scans. The aim is to gain a better understanding of the interrelationships behind the images of the illnesses. The scans are provided by the consortium partners. Wolfrum adds: “This is an excellent field for us because it gives us an opportunity to apply and expand our expertise in digitalization and artificial intelligence.”