Pathologists to trial Artificial Intelligence-assisted cancer diagnostics

David Bailey.jpg
David Bailey - Director of Pathology

Published 14.03.2023

Local hospitals are to share in a £123 million NHS investment to use AI (Artificial Intelligence) to enhance and speed up breast cancer diagnosis.

North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust is among just five Trusts in England to win a bid in the UK Artificial Intelligence in Heath and Care Award, using the Ibex Galen Breast Solution to deliver the innovative digital service.

The pioneering project will support pathologists by providing AI-based tools and insights that help detect and grade different types of breast cancer.

Having already been licensed in other countries, the study will see AI technology and computer intelligence join forces with human expertise to further enhance the histopathology service.   Preparations for the year-long study - which is due to start in October 2023 – are underway.

North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust director of pathology, Dr David Bailey is leading on the project locally.

He said: “Using AI allows us to look at digital pictures from tissue slides that would traditionally be looked at by a pathologist down a microscope.

“The AI technology can view the digital slides accurately, and intuitively order any required further tests before a pathologist even needs to view the case – offering a quick and more efficient way of delivering the service. This not only saves time for the pathologist but speeds up the review process for the patient.

“The use of AI offers us the best of both worlds – the reliability and reproducibility of machines with the intuition and insight of humans.

“It is a very exciting project for the Trust to be working on and we are delighted to have been selected as one of only five Trusts to take part.”

Pathologists from each Trust – including North West Anglia - will use Ibex’s ‘Galen Breast’ to analyse a total of 10,000 biopsies as part of routine practice and evaluate how the Ibex technology helps improve the quality, speed and efficiency of diagnosis.

No patient data will be recorded and the findings will not be used for clinical research purposes, but purely to assess how the AI can benefit patients and pathology professionals and their teams in the context of the NHS.

The aim will be to see how it can reduce case review times, improve capacity, and impacts overall cost-effectiveness of breast cancer diagnosis and turnaround times for patients.

Patient and public involvement will be core to the project, led by the Oxford Academic Health Science Network, and at the end of the trial, evidence will be gathered from all participating Trusts to evaluate the technology.

Richard Nicholson, UK sales director at Ibex Medical Analytics said: “This award and other programs supported by the UK government signifies its commitment to making the NHS a global leader in implementing AI technologies in healthcare.”

“Our trusted and robust AI platform is already helping UK pathologists to improve the quality of prostate cancer diagnosis, and we are eager to work with our NHS partners on expanding our collaboration to support breast cancer diagnosis and treatment.”

Peterborough City Hospital, Rutland and Stamford Hospital and Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Huntingdon are all part of North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust.

 Back to Trust news