New AI software to help better diagnose lung cancer has received major government funding.
Lung cancer prediction software, Virtual Nodule Clinic (VNC), developed by Optellum, will be used as part of a landmark research project supported by the NHS AI Lab’s £140million AI in Health and Care Award.
Known as DOLCE, the project is being led by Professor David Baldwin, honorary Professor of medicine at the University of Nottingham and consultant physician at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust. It will show how many CT scans, PET scans and biopsies are saved by VNC and how much faster the cancer diagnosis is confirmed.
If utility and safety are confirmed, the solution could be implemented nationally.
“We are delighted to receive this award,” said Professor Baldwin. “This technology is truly transformative and we have previously shown that this software can help us to safely discharge more people with pulmonary nodules earlier, reducing anxiety amongst patients waiting for repeat scans and also the need for potentially harmful tests. This is also very important to the NHS because it will reduce the pressure on radiology resources.”
The pioneering AI solution has already been shown to outperform existing methods of predicting malignancy in nodules. The team at Optellum with Professor Baldwin will now work with 10 leading NHS hospitals to deploy the technology for clinical evaluation.
The NHS AI Lab is led by NHSX and delivered in partnership with the Accelerated Access Collaborative and National Institute for Health Research. The purpose of the AI in Health and Care Award is to accelerate the testing and evaluation of AI in the NHS so that patients can benefit from faster and more personalised diagnosis. It also aims to enhance efficiency in screening services.
The award is a step towards ensuring patients across the NHS can benefit from an earlier diagnosis of lung cancer – the leading cause of cancer death.