BunkerHill Agreement - Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Xiaoqin Wang, MD,  Assistant Professor of Radiology and member of Women's Radiology has been steadfast to establish a partnership with BunkerHill - a startup company formed from Stanford University's Artificial Intelligence in Medicine and Imaging (AIMI) Center. It is a consortium connecting health systems such as UKHC to facilitate multi-institutional training, validation and deployment of experimental artificial intelliigent (AI) algorithms for medical imaging.  BunkerHill does not develop AI algorithm itself but rather helps implement and test algorithms. AI algorithms developed at one medical center frequently have difficulty working well when applied on images generated at another medical center. This partnership will address this problem by overcoming both the legal and the technical roadblocks to multicenter collaboration, which is key to successful AI development in Radiology. With this partership, it will be much easier for AI researchers in one medical center to find suitable colaborators in other medical centers.


With the recent intense development in computer vision and deep learning, numerous AI companies have emerged with applications for medical imaging. After careful evaluation of various radiology AI tools, and meeting online and on site with the director of BunkerHill,  Drs. Wang and Szabunio, Radiology Women's Division Chief, recognized that working with BunkerHill would provide an excellent opportunity for UK Radiology. Working with this group could help not only to conduct meaningful AI research in radiology but also to translate these results into clinical practice.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Establishing a multicenter collaboration in AI research is complex as it spans multiple disciplines, Radiology and Computer Science, as well as multiple institutions. Developing AI research in healthcare is even more challenging as sharing medical images requires overcoming many technical, legal and privacy issues.  Over the last 18 months, Dr. Wang has worked closely with the UK legal team, UK Office of Technology Commercialization (OTC), and UK Office of Sponsored Projects (OSPA) to negotiate two agreements with BunkerHill. 1) a master study agreement to cover obtaining single IRB to allow receiving data from other medical centers, and 2) a data sharing agreement. These agreements will afford not only Radiology researchers to use BunkerHill services, but other researchers through UK.

Using this master agreement UK will be able to collaborate with other medical centers in the consortium to conduct AI research projects and potentially obtain the following benefits: 

1. Research through testing of in-house developed AI algorithms on images derived at other medical centers or through testing of AI algorithms developed by other investigators on images derived at UKHC. The publications resulting from such a collaboration would promote AI research at UK.

2. Clinical through use of validated AI algorithms in our clinical work.   

3. Financial through revenue sharing/commercialization of AI algorithms developed elsewhere and through use of AI algorithms to provide the validating/training data for commercialization of AI algorithms developed in house.  The diagram below illustrates these various interactions.


An additional benefit of this partnership is to enable AI researchers to get access to clinical reports without the assistance of the imager's manufacturer. Getting access to some medical images and reports, such as 3D mammograms, has been a significant impediment to Dr. Wang's work. 

Overall the agreement with BunkerHill should aid many in UK Radiology regardless of whether they participate in the development of AI themselves or if they wish to collaborate with another group to test their algorithm. In multiple ways Dr. Wang's work to forge this collaboration will help move UK Radiology in the direction of greater knowledge and involvement in the development of AI for image analysis. 

Acknowledgement: Jennifer R. Isaacs, Clinical Research Administrator Director, in meeting coordination with BunkerHill, UK Offices of Technology Commercialization (OTC), and Sponsored Projects (OSPA.