Artificial intelligence to help diagnose hematological diseases by automating cell counting in bone marrow samples

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Researchers from the start up SpotLab together with the Hospital 12 Octubre, the Hospital Vall d’ Hebron, the Hospital Universitario Fundación Alcorcón and the collaboration of the UPM and UCM presented a digital artificial intelligence system for hematology at the National Congress of Hematology.

The use of techniques based on artificial intelligence (AI) to automatically analyze bone marrow samples makes it possible to speed up the diagnosis of hematological diseases. This is demonstrated by a study led by the company SpotLab in collaboration with Hospital 12 Octubre, Hospital Vall d’Hebron and Hospital Universitario Fundación Alcorcón, which will be presented on October 7 at the National Congress of Hematology (October 6-8, Barcelona, Spain).

Differential cell counting of bone marrow aspirates is a technique that, even today, is still performed manually in most healthcare centers. Moreover, it is a time-consuming task and involves significant inter-observer variability. This procedure is therefore a suitable candidate to be automated thanks to artificial intelligence.

To this end, the company SpotLab, in collaboration with researchers from 3 Spanish hospitals, developed an artificial intelligence algorithm based on deep learning that is capable of automatically differentiating and counting up to 6 different cell types.

For the development and validation of this system, data from more than 100 patients from the Hospital 12 de Octubre in Madrid were included.

The results obtained showed that this technology considerably reduces the analysis time of bone marrow samples, as well as the variability between observers when analyzing them, increasing efficiency and accuracy in the diagnosis of hematological diseases thanks to this system, which is based on artificial intelligence, mobile technology, a telemedicine
This system, which is based on artificial intelligence, mobile technology, a telemedicine platform and 3D printed devices, increases efficiency and accuracy in the diagnosis of hematological diseases.

This work, funded by the European Union, proposes to integrate innovative technologies into the day-to-day clinical routine, demonstrating that digitalization can have great potential for the field of hematology. This smartphone-based system, which does not require complex and expensive scanners or devices, is scalable and can be implemented in any hematology department of any hospital in the world.

SpotLab is a social enterprise that seeks to democratize access to quality diagnostics by bringing artificial intelligence to diseases that are not yet in the digital world. To make this possible, we use exponential and affordable technologies – smartphones, AI and 3D printing – to reduce the time, cost, distance and CO2 footprint of medical diagnostics. Our technology is present in Europe, Latin America and Africa. For more information, visit us at