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An Introduction to LungLife AI from CEO, Paul Pagano


Paul: LungLife AI is a diagnostics company focused on the early detection of lung cancer from a simple blood draw, all enhanced by artificial intelligence, and our mission is simple to make a significant impact in the early detection of lung cancer. 80% of all lung cancers are diagnosed in late stage, where there are minimal treatment options available to the patient. Our focus is on early detection because, like with other cancers, if you can detect lung cancer early enough, you can effectively cure the individual.

All of early detection for lung cancer center around the CT scan, which is very sensitive at picking up lung nodules. But sometimes the physician isn't sure what they are, and that's why they're called indeterminate nodules. It could be scar tissue. It could be a viral or a fungal infection, or it could be lung cancer. And the tools that are currently the physicians disposal are sometimes inadequate. There's the wait and see pathway where the patient will come back in three or six months to see if that nodule has grown in size. And if that nodule happens to be a tumor, that delay in treatment could reduce the potential for that patient to experience a cure of that lung cancer. The other option is to get a lung biopsy, and while the results are available much quicker, this pathway is associated with arms.

Turns out one in five biopsies results in an adverse event. These could be collapsed lung or bleeding. Then around 40% of all lung biopsies return in no lung cancer diagnosis. What that means is we're putting a lot of patients in harm's way for no good reason. In addition to the escalating harms, they're also escalating costs as you go through this pathway. The CT scan is relatively inexpensive at $200 a test, but the moment you go off and get a biopsy, it jumps to around $15,000. Should that biopsy result in an adverse event that requires hospitalization, the cost, then soar to around $40,000. So what you end up with is a standard of care that provides more harm, more cost and more uncertainty than it does answers at Long Life. Our purpose is simple to be a driving force in the early detection of lung cancer.  

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