Leeds gets £10m boost for artificial intelligence-led medical technology centre to help speed up disease diagnosis

The AI technology will be used to digitise images taken during scans and biopsies and develop products to help increase the rate of early diagnosis of cancer.
The AI technology will be used to digitise images taken during scans and biopsies and develop products to help increase the rate of early diagnosis of cancer.
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A new £10m medical technology centre in Leeds will use artificial intelligence (AI) to help speed up disease diagnosis.

Business Secretary Greg Clark announced £50m to fund new centres in the city, Oxford, Coventry, Glasgow and London, as part of plans to boost AI funding and improve patient treatment.

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The technology will be used to digitise glass slides made using actual tissue from biopsies and develop products to help increase the rate of early diagnosis of cancer.

The successful partnership bid led by the University of Leeds and Leeds Teaching Hospitals embraces a network of nine NHS hospitals, seven universities, ten and medical technology companies, called the Northern Pathology Imaging Co-operative (NPIC).

The investment will also be boosted by an initial £7m funding from industry.

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Dr Yvette Oade, chief medical officer at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said it was a “huge opportunity” for Yorkshire to become a leader in medical use of AI, adding: “This is a really exciting step for patients because computers using artificial intelligence can be trained to recognise the patterns of disease. Machines will support clinically trained pathologists to diagnose cancer faster, better and at lower cost.

“We can also explore how to use digital pathology as part of precision medicine to ensure patients receive treatments tailored to their disease.”

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Geoff Twist, managing director for Roche Diagnostics, which is investing in the project, said: “We are delighted to be a partner in this pioneering project that will introduce digital pathology and AI to a large network across the North of England covering a population of approximately 15m people.

"This is a true collaboration with partners from across healthcare delivery and industry, coming together with a common goal to improve diagnostic capabilities to offer cancer patients the best care possible. The ultimate aim is to develop an exemplar model that can be replicated across the UK for the benefit of cancer patients."