The true origins of 3D-DXA

DMS-Apelem is widely claiming to have developed the 3D-DXA software as you can see here in their first press release. All the while Ludovic Humbert of Galgo Medical is making his own claim to fame by taking credit for the invention of 3D-DXA such as on the second page of this document, which uses many illustrations stolen from my PhD thesis. Below are the true events that led to the development of this technology.

  1. It starts with me, Tristan Whitmarsh, joining the Computational Imaging & Simulation Technologies in Biomedicine (CISTIB) at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF) in 2008 to pursue a PhD in medical image analysis with Dr Alejandro Frangi as my supervisor.
  2. Luis Del Rio Barquero of Cetir Grup Mèdic contacted Dr Frangi to start a project on estimating the volumetric density of the femoral neck from DXA by the registration of a statistical shape model.
  3. I was assigned this task to investigate its potential.
  4. Co-supervised by Mathieu De Craene I conceived a study on the reconstruction of both the 3D shape and bone mineral density distribution from dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry scans for an improved fracture risk assessment.
  5. I was awarded a grant from the Instituto de Salud Carlos III to do a PhD on this project.
  6. I invented the technology and developed a working prototype based on DXA images from the GE Prodigy and iDXA devices.
  7. With my work now showing promise Alejandro Frangi hired Ludovic Humbert who he later made my co-supervisor.
  8. Behind my back, Ludovic Humbert subsequently applied for grants based on my research. This resulted in a project called 3D-FemOs for the hip and VERTEX for the spine. This gave Ludovic full control over me and my work since both project relied entirely on my PhD work.
  9. I provided Ludovic with my software since the projects depended on it, which he subsequently used for his own research papers. In addition to that he attempted to publish my writing and illustrations under his own name, which fortunately was caught by a reviewer, resulting in a double submission complaint and subsequent rejection.
  10. Funded by UPF and Cetir Grup Mèdic, Ludovic patented the technology, giving himself the same 25% as me and giving himself the first author position.
  11. My software was turned into a standalone application by Yves Martelly, who integrated it into an in-house developed user interface called GIMIAS.
  12. Alejandro Frangi moved to the University of Sheffield where he was offered a position and I joined him to finish my PhD there.
  13. I successfully defended my thesis at UPF in September 2012.
  14. CISTIB closed down in Barcelona and several past members including Ludovic Humbert, Antoni Riu and Luis Serra started a spin-off company called Galgo Medical to commercially exploit my PhD work together with Oscar Camara as principal investigator at UPF. Oscar previously left CISTIB to start a different group at UPF called PhySense. He was never involved in my work.
  15. I found out about the illegal commercialization of my PhD work around March 2013 when I was alerted of a video posted on the website of a French medical device company called Diagnostic Medical Systems (DMS) which presented my software as their own and named it “3D-DXA”.

This was the start of a long running legal conflict, which I will outline in future blog posts.