May 17, 2020

Tighter regulations proposed for animal testing in UK

academy of medical sciences
animal testing
2 min
The Academy of Medical Sciences recommends that tighter regulations be imposed on animal testing in consideration of the involvement of human materials
A report by the Academy of Medical Sciences suggests that tighter regulations should be put in place for animal testing. The writers of the report are...

A report by the Academy of Medical Sciences suggests that tighter regulations should be put in place for animal testing.

The writers of the report are concerned by the increasing popularity of experiments involving the insertion of human materials into animals.

The report praises the benefits of the new technique, which has allowed researchers to test cancer drugs on human tissue attached to mice.


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However, it warns that the involvement of human materials increases the ethical complexity of animal testing. It suggests that current regulations are not always applicable.

For example, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority prohibits the progression of any embryo that contains predominantly human material beyond 14 days. However, for embryos that are mostly animal but contain some human material, there are no regulations in place.

The report recommends three categories for studies involving animal testing, with category three experiments being banned.

The progression of the embryo containing some human material would be classified as a category three experiment.

Category two experiments would be assessed on a case-by-case basis, with the requirement that strong scientific justification must be provided. The addition of human genes to non-human primates would fall under this category.

Finally, category one experiments would be treated as any other test on an animal, with no additional regulations being imposed.

The UK government has said it will consider the proposal.

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Jun 18, 2021

Skin Analytics wins NHSX award for AI skin cancer tool 

2 min
Skin Analytics uses AI to detect skin cancer and will be deployed across the NHS to ease patient backlogs

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.”

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