Your morning summary of digital health news, information and events to know about if you want to be “in the know”. 

👇 News 

🙋‍♀️ Personalised therapies could improve the treatment of many diseases in the future. Cancer medicine in particular has made significant progress in recent years. Applications of AI will allow to adapt personalised therapies in an even more targeted manner. New, AI-based therapies require a flexible and safe legal framework, in order to reach patients quickly and safely. In their paper published today in the Nature Portfolio journal “npj Precision Oncology”, researchers from Dresden, Leipzig, Marburg and Paris provide an overview of possible AI-based applications for personalised cancer medicine and the associated regulatory challenges.  

🧠 With the average waiting time for a neurodevelopmental assessment being 69 weeks across Warwickshire, Purple House Clinic Rugby, a private clinic providing mental health and neurodiversity services, is helping to reduce this growing demand. In 2023, the Clinic saw an 11% rise in enquiries from both adults and children compared to the previous year, of which 90% led to a full neurodevelopmental assessment for either Autism or Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). 

📒 The UK Sepsis Trust has welcomed updated NICE guidelines for the recognition, diagnosis and early management of the condition, having first been developed in 2016 after UKST lobbying. This guideline covers the recognition, diagnosis, and early management of sepsis for all populations, and is aimed at people with sepsis, their families and carers, as well as healthcare professionals working in primary, secondary and tertiary care. The latest changes include updates to the language regarding the risk stratification of adults, the appropriate timing for antibiotic delivery for different risk categories, and the reassertion of the importance of clinical judgment.    

📟 Little more than a year after ChatGPT’s public release, clinical applications of generative AI and large language models (LLMs) are advancing rapidly. In the long term, an article from JAMA Network suggests, LLMs may revolutionise much of clinical medicine, from patient diagnosis to treatment. In the short term, however, it is the everyday clinical tasks that LLMs will change most quickly and with the least scrutiny. Specifically, LLMs that summarise clinical notes, medications, and other forms of patient data are in advanced development and could soon reach patients without US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversight. Summarisation, though, is not as simple as it seems, and variation in LLM-generated summaries could exert important and unpredictable effects on clinician decision-making. 

🧫 Researchers from City of Hope and its precision medicine research organisation, the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), have developed a machine learning (ML) approach that could facilitate the early detection of cancer using significantly less blood than current diagnostic tools, according to a study published recently in Science Translational Medicine. The research team underscored that a significant portion of patients will survive for at least five years after their initial diagnosis if the cancer is caught at stage 1, whereas this number drops steadily when patients are diagnosed at later stages. 

Did you know that? 

Thousands of women are being urged to attend NHS breast screening appointments as new figures show that, despite a slight increase in uptake in the last year, over a third of women still did not take up the potentially lifesaving offer. In 2022-23, a total of 1.93 million women aged 50 to 70 (64.6%) attended screening appointments (within six months of invitation) out of the 2.98 million invited to book a check-up – an increase in uptake on 2021-22 (62.3%). However 35.4% of women did not attend their appointments following an invitation, increasing to 46.3% of women who were being invited for the first time. 

📖 What we’re reading  

Two NIHR-funded researchers, Dr Patrik Bachtiger and Dr Mihir Kelshiker have written about how NIHR funding has contributed to the implementation of an AI powered ‘smart stethoscope’. They discuss how this may benefit patients, the public and GPs, in addition to how their roles as clinical academics helped them to deploy the technology.  

🚨 Next week’s events 

6-7 February, The King’s Fund (online) – Delivering effective place-based care