Electrical nose could sniff out cancer
An electronic device has been developed by scientists, it is able to “sniff” breath and identify people with a certain condition that may lead to oesophagus cancer. Recent studies conducted show that there are approximately 9,000 new cases of oesophageal cancer, every year in the UK alone, this innovative technology could help to identify these cases earlier and therefore treat the cancer earlier.
It has been found, by Cancer Research UK, that people diagnosed with Barrett’s oesophagus (the precancerous condition that is detected by the electronic nose) are at 11 times greater risk of developing oesophageal adenocarcinoma. The condition presents no symptoms however it tends to be more common among people with long-term acid reflux problems.
Currently, with limited access to such innovative technology, diagnoses is conducted through on endoscopy which is an expensive and an invasive technique, whereas the electronic nose will be far from invasive, making the experience as least traumatic as it can be. The improved experience is hoped to encourage more people to have a screening, this will decrease the number of cancer cases and ease pressure on the healthcare system.
Prof Peter Siersema, co-author of the research from the Radboud Institute for Health Sciences in the Netherlands on the new detection method' “If you have a test available that is non-invasive and easily [detects] patients at risk of developing oesophageal cancer, then, of course, the participation rates will be much higher as compared to using upper endoscopy”
The innovative electronic nose uses a certain type of artificial intelligence to identify a particular component in a sample of breath. When trailed, the nose had correctly identified patients with the condition 91% of the time, and it correctly identified those without the condition just less than three-quarters of the time.
The team developing the tool plan to repeat the experiment in a sample group of 1,000 members, which they expect will lead to an increase in the system’s accuracy. If the trails go well the innovative device is hoped to be available to GP practices in two to three years time.
Skin Analytics wins NHSX award for AI skin cancer tool
An artificial intelligence-driven tool that identifies skin cancers has received an award from NHSX, the NHS England and Department of Health and Social Care's initiative to bring technology into the UK's national health system.
NHSX has granted the Artificial Intelligence in Health and Care Award to DERM, an AI solution that can identify 11 types of skin lesion.
Developed by Skin Analytics, DERM analyses images of skin lesions using algorithms. Within primary care, Skin Analytics will be used as an additional tool to help doctors with their decision making.
In secondary care, it enables AI telehealth hubs to support dermatologists with triage, directing patients to the right next step. This will help speed up diagnosis, and patients with benign skin lesions can be identified earlier, redirecting them away from dermatology departments that are at full capacity due to the COVID-19 backlog.
Cancer Research has called the impact of the pandemic on cancer services "devastating", with a 42% drop in the number of people starting cancer treatment after screening.
DERM is already in use at University Hospitals Birmingham and Mid and South Essex Health & Care Partnership, where it has led to a significant reduction in unnecessary referrals to hospital.
Now NHSX have granted it the Phase 4 AI in Health and Care Award, making DERM available to clinicians across the country. Overall this award makes £140 million available over four years to accelerate the use of artificial intelligence technologies which meet the aims of the NHS Long Term Plan.
Dr Lucy Thomas, Consultant Dermatologist at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, said: “Skin Analytics’ receipt of this award is great news for the NHS and dermatology departments. It will allow us to gather real-world data to demonstrate the benefits of AI on patient pathways and workforce challenges.
"Like many services, dermatology has severe backlogs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This award couldn't have come at a better time to aid recovery and give us more time with the patients most in need of our help.”