Maxwell MRI revolutionises healthcare delivery with AI on GCP

About Maxwell MRI

Headquartered in Brisbane, Maxwell MRI aims to combine deep learning with medical imaging to diagnose prostate cancer in a faster, more affordable and more accurate way.

Industries: Healthcare & Life Sciences
Location: Australia

With GCP, Maxwell MRI has created a platform to improve prostate cancer diagnosis by analysing hundreds of thousands of prostate cancer cases using artificial intelligence (AI).

Google Cloud Platform Results

  • Enabled the business to deliver results to clinicians in 10-15 minutes rather than two days to a week
  • Scaled to process 6,000 anonymised research cases with another 144,000 forecast to be processed by the end of 2018
  • Established a platform for a planned expansion into other countries

Dr. Elliot Smith cannot be accused of lacking ambition. A high achiever with a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and a specialist in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) systems, Smith aims to deliver top quality healthcare to anyone in the world - regardless of their location or wealth.

Maxwell MRI improves prostate cancer diagnosis using artificial intelligence (AI) and GCP

Dr. Smith has already made strides on this journey with his Brisbane, Queensland-headquartered business, Maxwell MRI. “I saw there was a big gap in the market around automating the diagnosis of health conditions,” he says. “Existing processes were typically manual and involved a lot of people.”

“Realistically a cloud product like GCP is the only way we can grow from an Australian-based company to a global company. By the end of 2018, we are looking to expand into Europe as well as Singapore, Canada and other countries. If we had the burden of looking to set up our own infrastructure, it simply wouldn’t be feasible.”

Dr. Elliot Smith, Founder and CTO, Maxwell MRI

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning can remove a key obstacle to scaling out medicine and improve the efficiency and accuracy of diagnosing conditions, the healthcare entrepreneur believes.

“Our grand vision is to build an AI doctor that anyone can receive affordable support from and connect to in order to obtain results,” explains Dr. Smith.

Maxwell MRI presently enables clinicians to submit anonymised MRI scans to a machine learning enabled AI platform to help diagnose prostate cancer. The service is sold to clinicians who can then charge a per-session fee to clients. As well as obtaining results for individual cases, the MRI scans and associated information is used to ‘train’ the platform to deliver accurate diagnoses faster and in a more affordable way than existing systems do.

Dr. Smith and his team started by running a number of functions and processes on a single server with graphics processing units (GPUs) and sizable hard disk capacity. However, this infrastructure could not scale to support the planned growth of the business. Each case Maxwell MRI processes involves about 200MB of data in MRI scans alone. Once supplementary data, blood test result, pathology results and genetic information is included, this load can reach more than 1GB of data per patient.

The business aimed to process 150,000 cases by the end of 2018. This required a service that could deliver massive scale in data storage and compute, and could easily be accessed from any location.

“We wanted to move from three GPUs to 30 GPUs without having to buy more servers or other associated equipment, so the cloud was the natural next step,” says Dr. Smith.

Maxwell MRI evaluated Google Cloud Platform (GCP) and determined that the managed services component of GCP would remove the burden of infrastructure deployment and administration. In addition, Google Cloud Machine Learning Engine would enable the business to scale to as many GPUs as needed to meet demand.

Maxwell MRI

Maxwell MRI started with some small experiments to determine that GCP met all its requirements and completed its migration to the platform in February 2017. “We really started to scale up the data we had and consequently our computing requirements at that time,” Dr. Smith says.

The Maxwell MRI platform features an upload service that enables clinicians to upload imaging and associated data. This service triggers several different upload pipelines that clean and standardise data. They then and write imaging data to Google Cloud Storage, and more structured data to a combination of Google Cloud Datastore and Google Cloud Spanner.

The platform then converts the information into records that can be used to ‘train’ new machine learning configurations or run evaluations through existing machine learning pipelines.

“The tasks we perform including segmenting various anatomical regions for analysis and sending those results back into Google Cloud Storage,” says Dr. Smith. “This then commences that repeated process of running Google Cloud Dataflow pipelines and machine learning algorithms, and presenting those outcomes back to the clinicians.”

By July 2017, six clinicians were bringing about 1,000 anonymised cases each to the Maxwell MRI platform. Another 10,000 to 20,000 cases are due to be processed by late 2017, according to Dr. Smith.

Existing literature validated

The data processed and analysed to date has, Dr Smith says, enabled Maxwell MRI to help validate existing literature that indicates clinicians lack confidence in existing early-stage testing procedures for prostate cancer. This prompts them to move quickly to the biopsy stage to assure themselves their diagnosis is valid. “New technologies have a lot of potential to rectify this situation and guide treatment to be more accurate, specific and cost-effective,” he says.

Results delivered in 10-15 minutes

More specifically, using GCP has enabled Maxwell MRI to guarantee to clinicians that results will be delivered within minutes. “Clinicians are used to getting results back in two days to a week,” says Dr. Smith. “We’re saying that with our platform running on GCP we’ll deliver you results in 10 to 15 minutes, regardless of the number of patients coming in.”

Running on GCP has enabled the business to accelerate its development cycles, test new ideas easily on a subset of data, test in parallel and deliver new services considerably faster than in another environment. In addition, the flexible GCP charging model aligned with the ability to scale compute capabilities quickly and easily has enabled the fledgling business to control its costs.

“We’re saying that with our platform running on GCP, we’ll deliver you results in 10 to 15 minutes, regardless of the number of patients coming in.”

Dr Elliot Smith, Founder and CTO, Maxwell MRI

Support growth

With its AI platform running smoothly on a Google infrastructure, Maxwell MRI has turned its attention to expansion. “Realistically a cloud product like GCP is the only way we can grow from an Australian-based company to a global company,” Dr. Smith says. “By the end of 2018, we are looking to expand into Europe as well as Singapore, Canada and other countries. If we had the burden of looking to set up our own infrastructure, it simply wouldn’t be feasible.”

Furthermore, using GCP has enabled Maxwell MRI to meet stringent requirements governing the storage and processing of medical data in various jurisdictions. “By working with GCP, we can access in-country compute and storage and isolate projects very quickly,” Dr. Smith adds. The establishment of the Australian GCP Region in Sydney has enabled Maxwell MRI to move compute and storage from the United States or Singapore to the local market, improving speeds and performance for clinicians in its home market.

Maxwell MRI’s use of Google technologies extends beyond GCP to G Suite intelligent applications. These applications power the company’s internal productivity and collaboration activities and according to Smith, have allowed team members to work at a rapid pace.

Google technologies are poised to play an integral role in the business’s future. “With Google available, it doesn’t make sense for us to use our own infrastructure,” Dr. Smith says. “Our expertise in AI, machine learning and clinical engagement complements cloud platform specialties of infrastructure, managed services and ease of use. We see a bright future ahead in helping to transform healthcare globally.”

About Maxwell MRI

Headquartered in Brisbane, Maxwell MRI aims to combine deep learning with medical imaging to diagnose prostate cancer in a faster, more affordable and more accurate way.

Industries: Healthcare & Life Sciences
Location: Australia

12 Months FREE TRIAL

Try Kubernetes Engine, BigQuery, and other Cloud Platform products with $300 in free credit and 12 months.

TRY IT FREE

12 Months FREE TRIAL

Try Kubernetes Engine, BigQuery, and other Cloud Platform products with $300 in free credit and 12 months.

TRY IT FREE