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Medical AI gets £50m boost and five new centres in UK

Medical imaging and pathology to undergo AI revolution

AI

Five technology centres devoted to medical artificial intelligence will open in the UK, backed with £50m in government funding, says the government.

Business secretary Greg Clark said the centres in Leeds, Oxford, Coventry, Glasgow and London will use AI technology to find new ways to speed up diagnosis of diseases to improve outcomes for patients.

The units will be located at NHS facilities and universities, and will help hospitals make scans and biopsy images digital, reducing manual reporting and hopefully freeing up more staff time for patient care. That is an approach that is already being explored in diagnostic procedures like CT and MRI scans, and could lead to a situation in which AI systems work autonomously, delivering diagnoses without the need for human intervention.

AI is one of the one of four ‘Grand Challenges’ in the UK government’s industrial strategy, and the country has become a hot spot for AI in healthcare, home to some big names in the sector like DeepMind, SwiftKey and Babylon, as well as a large number of emerging start-ups.

Earlier this year, a new AI facility opened at the government-funded Rosalind Franklin Institute (RFI) in Harwell, Oxfordshire, to investigate how AI can be combined with robotics to tease out new biological pathways and discover new diagnostics and drugs.

The five new medical centres will bring together doctors, businesses and academics to develop AI systems that can improve early diagnosis of disease, including cancer, with companies like GE Healthcare, Siemens, Philips, Leica, Canon and Roche Diagnostics already committed to the project, says the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

The five centres and their areas of focus are:

  • The London Medical Imaging and Artificial Intelligence Centre for Value-Based Healthcare, which will use AI in medical imaging and related clinical data for faster and earlier diagnosis and streamlining manual reporting;
  • Glasgow’s I-CAIRD (Industrial Centre for AI Research in Digital Diagnostics), which will bring together clinicians, health planners and industry to work with smaller companies to answer clinical questions, and solve healthcare challenges more quickly and efficiently;
  • NCIMI (National Consortium of Intelligent Medical Imaging) in Oxford will consider the role clinical imaging plays in the delivery of more personalised care and earlier diagnosis to support disease prevention and treatment;
  • The Northern Pathology Imaging Collaborative (NPIC), located in Leeds, will tap into the city’s reputation in digital pathology research further by creating a centre linking up nine industry partners, eight universities and nine NHS trusts; and
  • Coventry’s Pathology image data Lake for Analytics, Knowledge and Education (PathLAKE) will use NHS pathology data to drive economic growth in health-related AI.

AHSN Hancock

Much of Matt Hancock's focus since becoming health secretary has been on promoting digital transformation of the NHS. Yesterday he opened the London Stock Exchange to mark a new report from the NHS Innovation Accelerator highlighting some of the best technology in the NHS

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said AI “will play a crucial role in the future of the NHS – and we need to embrace it by introducing systems which can speed up diagnoses, improve patient outcomes, make every pound go further and give clinicians more time with their patients.”

“As part of our long-term plan, we will transform the NHS into an ecosystem of enterprise and innovation that allows technology to flourish and evolve.”

Article by
Phil Taylor

6th November 2018

From: Healthcare

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