University of Cambridge to drive health innovation through AI partnership

  • 8 July 2024
University of Cambridge to drive health innovation through AI partnership

The University of Cambridge’s Maxwell Centre has partnered with AI and analytics software firm SAS with the aim of accelerating healthcare innovation through better access to advanced analytics.

The collaboration, which was announced at the SAS Innovate event in London on 12 June 2024, will see SAS experts and SAS Viya data and AI platform capabilities embedded into the university environment, enabling targeted joined up working with leading researchers and early-stage entrepreneurs.

The SAS Advanced Analytics Hub is planned to launch on 23 July, with the ability to recruit and support several academic research projects and promising early-stage startups in the health tech sector.

Dr Alex Samoshkin, deputy head at the office for translational research at the School of Clinical Medicine, who initiated the partnership, said: “In 2018 I supported the PITHIA project led by Prof Gavin Pettigrew, looking to optimise qualification of kidneys for transplantation, for which SAS turned out to be the perfect industrial partner.

“We demonstrated that synergy between the University and SAS was instrumental in accelerating the process of transitioning from ideas to the clinic.”

The University of Cambridge-led project on kidney transplants, PITHIA, developed an AI-based decision support approach using SAS’s analytics platform, which is being used to automate the process of scoring biopsies for kidneys to better identify those organs that can be used for transplantation.

This initial success of this project led to a more ambitious partnership between Cambridge and SAS.

Roderick Crawford, senior vice president of SAS Northern Europe, said: “There are many examples we’re seeing of how AI can have a truly transformational effect, not just on businesses, but in areas such as healthcare and society as a whole.

“We’re delighted to deepen our relationship with the University of Cambridge through this partnership, and there is enormous potential when you consider the additional expertise our partners, such as Microsoft, and customers, such as AstraZeneca, can provide.”

In September 2023, Digital Health News reported SAS’ plans to launch a new transformative healthcare platform that will simplify health data and management, improve data governance and accelerate patient insights.

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