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AstraZeneca joins UK pilot evaluating AI-based lung cancer diagnosis system

More than 43,000 people are diagnosed with lung cancer every year in the UK

AstraZeneca

AstraZeneca (AZ) is partnering with artificial intelligence (AI) tech company Qure.ai and the Greater Manchester Cancer Alliance to evaluate whether an AI system can help radiologists make faster and more accurate diagnoses of lung cancer.

Qure.ai’s qXR technology will be used to review X-rays of around 250,000 people in Greater Manchester, where the companies say there is a ‘much higher’ prevalence of lung cancer compared to the rest of the UK.

Using deep-learning algorithms, the technology supports radiologists by classifying chest X-rays as remarkable or unremarkable, identifying abnormal findings and highlighting them on the X-rays.

Lucy George, head of business innovation oncology at AZ, said: “This partnership speaks to the very heart of what we believe to be important to transform the patient experience.

“If we can bridge the gap between the NHS and innovative technology, such as Qure.ai’s qXR technology, to facilitate access to speedier diagnoses, then we’re a step closer to helping lung cancer patients receive the right treatment earlier in the patient pathway.”

Lung cancer is one of the most common and serious types of cancer, with more than 43,000 people being diagnosed with the condition every year in the UK.

Early diagnosis significantly improves outcomes by providing care at the earliest possible stage. However, the disease is frequently diagnosed at a late stage because it may begin as asymptomatic and therefore be hard to detect.

Currently, one in five cancer diagnoses in England are detected after routine testing following referral to a hospital specialist, with many of these patients waiting months for their diagnoses.

“It is important to diagnose lung cancer as early and as quickly as possible to ensure the best possible treatment… This study will evaluate whether AI can speed up the analysis of these X-rays when it is needed the most,” said Dr Matthew Evison, clinician lead for lung cancer at Greater Manchester Cancer Alliance.

Also commenting on the pilot, Qure.ai's chief executive officer and co-founder, Prashant Warier, said: "The UK government recognises the importance of digital health technologies to help it improve outcomes in societies.

“Based on our experience in other countries and studies, qXR has become an integral component in the mission to make detection of lung cancer smarter and faster for everyone, everywhere."

Article by
Emily Kimber

18th January 2023

From: Research

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