UK government backs five new AI health projects

Artificial neuron in concept of artificial intelligence. Wall-shaped binary codes make transmission lines of pulses and/or information in an analogy to a microchip. Neural network and data transmission.

The UK government has backed five new centres for artificial intelligence (AI) in health, focusing on areas including pathology, radiology and imaging.

Backed by £50m in funding, the new centres will bring together doctors, businesses and academics to develop products using AI to improve early diagnosis of diseases including cancer.

Products developed at the new centres aim to offer more personalised treatment for patients, while freeing up doctors to spend more time on caring for patients.

According to the announcement from the government departments for health and business, the investment in large-scale genomics and image analysis will drive new understanding of how complex diseases develop, in a proactive step to ensure people get the right treatment at the right time.

Centres will be based in Leeds, Oxford, Coventry, Glasgow and London.

The centres will be funded through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, the government’s investment programme that focuses on addressing the opportunities and challenges of the future, which is managed by UK Research and Innovation.

Centres will be spearheaded by medical companies including GE Healthcare, Siemens, Philips, Leica, Canon and Roche Diagnostics.

The centres are:

London Medical Imaging and Artificial Intelligence Centre for Value-Based Healthcare, which will use artificial intelligence in medical imaging and related clinical data for faster and earlier diagnosis, automating expensive and time-consuming manual reporting.

Glasgow’s iCAIRD (Industrial Centre for AI Research in Digital Diagnostics) will bring together clinicians, health planners, and industry to work with innovative SMEs 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.

Based in Coventry, the Pathology image data Lake for Analytics, Knowledge and Education (PathLAKE) will use NHS pathology data to drive economic growth in health-related AI.

As already reported by pharmaphorum, The Northern Pathology Imaging Collaborative (NPIC) located in Leeds will boost the city’s capacity in digital pathology research.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Artificial intelligence 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.”

The centres, which will be based at universities and NHS facilities, are expected to be up and running during 2019.