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Study Demonstrates Elucid’s Ability to Estimate RNA Expression from Non-Invasive Cardiovascular Imaging

Elucid, a medical technology company developing AI software to enable cardiovascular disease detection, and researchers at the Karolinska Institutet (Stockholm, Sweden), led by Dr. Ulf Hedin, announced the publication of new clinical data in the American Heart Association journal, Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology. The study entitled “Virtual Transcriptomics,” demonstrates a first-of-its-kind estimation of coding and non-coding RNA transcripts from a CT angiography using Elucid’s software. The promise of this work is to enable true precision medicine for cardiovascular disease.

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There have been numerous advancements in the world of cardiovascular therapeutics over the past decades, including development of intensive lipid-lowering agents such as PCSK9 inhibitors and anti-inflammatory therapies such as canakinumab. However, the promise of these therapeutics has yet to be fully realized because they are cost prohibitive and potentially harmful to prescribe to patients who are unlikely to respond. As a result, their use has been severely limited, leading to suboptimal medical therapy selection and potentially avoidable heart attacks and strokes.

“Understanding a patient’s gene expression within atherosclerotic plaque may provide novel prognostic insights. This typically would require tissue biopsy or surgery, which is not feasible for most patients,” said Dr. Gregg W. Stone, Director of Academic Affairs for the Mount Sinai Heart Health System. “This innovative study demonstrates the potential of computed tomography-based Virtual Transcriptomics to non-invasively predict gene expression, which opens up the field to potential new therapeutic approaches.”

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“The ability to perform analyses from non-invasive imaging that identify cellular and molecular level function requires more than just a technical perspective,” said Andrew Buckler, first author on the study and founder of Elucid. “Our partnership with Karolinska Institute provides deep insights into biology as well as access to patient samples that are not easy to come by. In turn, the use of our unique technology opens analysis alternatives not previously possible. We are grateful for the truly synergistic activity made possible by biologists, clinicians, and technologists working together and creating the possibility for cardiac treatment to become part of the precision medicine paradigm.”

Elucid’s platform employs machine intelligence trained with CT angiographies paired with transcriptomics from surgical specimens for ground truth. Once trained, the software is then able to estimate plaque morphology and plaque transcriptomes from new patients where only the CT angiography is available. The platform also creates the possibility for pharmaceutical companies to leverage its capabilities for longitudinal transcriptional profiling during drug development. Elucid’s plaque morphology capabilities have already been used to demonstrate efficacy of numerous cardiovascular therapeutics; the addition of expression holds significant promise.

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