EXIST-Founder's grant: Project "NOVU" of the TU Ilmenau receives approval

The start-up project NOVU develops software for the early detection of breast and lung cancer with the help of artificial intelligence and is funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy as well as by the EU and ESF within the framework of the EXIST start-up grant.

Group picture of the NOVU project team Laura Martin
The NOVU project team Rebeca Munteanu, project manager Dr. Sherief Emam and Rachit Gupta (front from left to right) with llmkubator project coordinator Jan Radicke, mentor Prof. Thomas Grebel and the managing director of TGZ Ilmenau. Rüdiger Horn (2nd row from left to right).

The start-up project NOVU of TU Ilmenau will receive the EXIST Founder Grant in 2021 to advance the research and development of an AI solution for the early detection of breast and lung cancer. With their solution, Dr. Sherief Emam and his team want to improve the work of radiologists worldwide. The EXIST grant already started in January 2021 and will run until December 31, 2021. The goals within the EXIST project are to design the business plan for the future company and to further develop the AI algorithms for cancer detection.

AI solution for the early detection of cancer

NOVU is developing an innovative solution for the early detection of breast and lung cancer for radiology based on artificial intelligence. The idea was born from the observation that the number of radiological examinations (for example MRI and CT scans) in European countries is increasing faster than the number of radiologists. In this situation, the current manual diagnostic methods lead to a significant increase in the workload of practicing radiologists and thus to diagnostic errors. NOVU's innovative software solution addresses this very issue and aims to support the well-being of doctors and patients by reducing and automating repetitive tasks. To do this, the team uses various AI models to identify cancerous lesions, analyze patient history, and automate reporting. "Together with an international team of physicians and partners from industry, we are working in particular to tailor our algorithms as appropriately as possible to the needs of radiologists," reveals NOVU project leader Dr. Sherief Emam. In this way, he says, the efficiency of cancer detection can be increased and the workflow of radiologists can be optimised without losing the reliability of the diagnoses.

First project phase

The founding team NOVU is composed of graduates of the TU Ilmenau and is interdisciplinary with experts from the fields of economics, communication and engineering. In addition, the 3-member core team experiences support from physicians, their mentor Prof. Thomas Grebel (Head of the Department of Economic Policy) and the advisors of the Ilmkubator Gründerservice, Jan Radicke and Stefanie Freitag. "Through the support and experience of this network, we receive a lot of feedback and valuable advice, which we can use to further optimize our work," Dr. Emam is pleased to say. In the first working months of the project, the focus is on project planning and the development of the AI solution. The software is expected to enter the test phase soon, and the foundation is planned for the end of the year.


Dr. Sherief Emam

Head Project NOVU