Digital health collaboration to trial AI-powered X-rays for lung cancer detection

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Earlier diagnosis could increase patient survival rates by five years or more

The University of Glasgow has announced that an artificial intelligence (AI)-enhanced chest X-ray reporting solution has begun trials in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) for early detection of lung cancer.

The Radiograph Accelerated Detection and Identification of Cancer of the Lung (RADICAL) trial is taking place at the Inverclyde Royal Hospital, the Vale of Leven Hospital and Paisley’s Royal Alexandria Hospital.

Lung cancer is responsible for around 5,500 new cases per year and is currently one of the leading causes of death in Scotland.

If diagnosed at stage 2, more than 35% of patients will survive their cancer for longer than five years and 55% will if diagnosed at stage 1.

Across three hospitals, nearly 250 patients attended appointments where qXR, a collaboration between Qure.ai, NHSGGC-hosted West of Scotland Innovation Hub, the University of Glasgow and the Scottish government, was used to analyse chest X-rays in near real-time.

The Qure.ai qXR solution automatically segregates standard chest X-rays and flags abnormalities, including masses or lung nodules, to prioritise patient case reporting.

Following a nationally coordinated evaluation of AI use in radiology to prove clinical effectiveness, cost efficiency and improved outcomes for patients, the solution will be implemented in around 70,000 chest X-rays per year.

David Lowe, professor of health and innovation, University of Glasgow and emergency medicine consultation, NHSGGC, said: “If we can spot cancer earlier… we can improve time [for] further imaging, and subsequent treatment… [which] will help orchestrate benefits for the whole patient care pathway.”

Professor Julie Brittenden, director, research and innovation, NHSGGC, said: “[Using] AI to assist clinicians when treating… patients [means] we can ensure patients are on to the appropriate treatment pathway as quickly as possible.”

qXR is also being supported by the University of Glasgow’s Digital Health Validation Lab as part of the Living Laboratory for Precision Medicine, which offers academic leadership and support to deliver the trial alongside NHSGGC and Qure.ai.

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