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Helmholtz Munich | ©Petra Nehmeyer

ERC grant: AI supports leukemia experts

Awards & Grants, AIH,

Helmholtz Munich researcher Carsten Marr, Director of the Institute of AI for Health, has acquired a European Research Council (ERC) Proof of Concept Grant for his project on the development of LeukoScreen, an AI-based software to automatically identify and flag up acute leukemia cases. The project, a collaboration between the Institute of AI for Health and the Munich Leukemia Laboratory (MLL), has a duration of 18 months and a total volume of 150,000 €.

How can artificial intelligence (AI) support manual inspection of leukemia patients’ blood samples? A research team led by Carsten Marr is investigating this question in the newly ERC-funded project LeukoScreen. The goal of the researchers: To develop an AI-based software, that decreases the diagnosis-to-treatment time of critical leukemia cases at reduced costs and staffing. In fact, for aggressive blood cancer, immediate diagnosis can determine life or death.

Currently, the diagnostic state-of-the-art is a manual examination of a patient’s blood smears under the microscope by trained experts, called cytomorphologists. However, this process is prone to human error and very time-consuming. With their AI-based software, the team around Carsten Marr and MLL, the largest leukemia laboratory in Europe, want to change the paradigm of cytologic workflow. The researchers expect LeukoScreen to support clinical decisions and drastically increase diagnostic speed and accuracy, benefit patient survival and free up valuable expert time. Together, the researchers and the MLL will also develop a commercialization strategy for the exploitation of their results.

About the ERC Proof of Concept Grant

Research generates new ideas, that drive innovation, and business inventiveness and tackle societal challenges. The ERC Proof of Concept Grant aims at facilitating exploration of the commercial and social innovation potential of ERC funded research and is therefore made available to researchers, who already have an ERC award. Through the project, they are able to establish proof of concept of an idea that was generated in the course of their ERC-funded projects.

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About the scientist:

Dr. Carsten Marr is Director of the Helmholtz Munich Institute of AI for Health.

More information:

MLL Münchner Leukämielabor

Research-Highlight Story "AI in medicine"