University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (UCLH) has developed a machine learning algorithm which can help predict liver and kidney function levels in cancer patients.

The algorithm, which has been created in partnership with with Durham University and health tech company Evergreen Life, can predict the likelihood of liver and kidney damage in advance, meaning low risk patients could be saved unnecessary trips to hospital for blood tests, while ensuring effective monitoring for high-risk patients.

UCLH have been awarded a grant of £685,316 from Innovate UK, which is a part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), to work with Durham University and Evergreen Life to test the new technology in a clinical

The grant will enable the team to build a software application that allows the validated algorithm to be used and tested in clinic. The algorithm was developed by UCLH cancer pharmacist, Dr Pinkie Chambers, alongside computer scientist, Dr Noura Al Moubayed at Durham University, and her PhD student, Matthew Watson.

Dr Al Moubayed said: “The project is a clear demonstration of a successful collaboration between the industry and academia. The collaboration has led to the development of the proof-of-concept model of predicting liver and kidney functions.

“We hope this state-of-the-art solution will contribute to the improvement of patient outcomes and alleviate some of the challenges of cancer chemotherapy.”

Evergreen Life is developing the software application and the team predicts that once fully validated, the algorithm will allow closer monitoring of over 10,000 high risk cancer patients and significantly reduce the need for unnecessary tests for thousands of patients.

Chris Kennelly, head of secondary care at Evergreen Life, said: “It’s exciting to be working with the teams at Durham University and UCLH and this awarded grant is recognition of the hard work the team has put into the collaboration.

“This project is a fantastic opportunity to improve the care of thousands, if not millions, of cancer patients across the UK and beyond.

“This is just one of a number of projects we are collaborating on with leading academic research teams to realise improved care for patients suffering from a range of diseases, and we’re looking forward to sharing more in the coming months.”

Evergreen Life’s involvement in developing this technology comes after they acquired the creators of askmyGP at the back end of last year, a move which will see patients benefit from a wider range of services and communication with their GPs.