Artificial intelligence and pioneering gene-based therapies could be used to treat people with cancer, dementia and Parkinson’s following a significant funding boost from the UK Government.
The government has revealed it will invest £133 million to help thousands of patients across the UK currently living with debilitating or life-threatening diseases. Up to £50m of this funding package will be invested to enhance NHS diagnostic services to enable faster, more accurate diagnoses and earlier interventions, ministers confirmed.
Support will also be offered to existing Centres of Excellence currently involved in “cutting-edge” projects to develop digital pathology and AI-based imaging.
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Commenting on the announcement, health secretary Matt Hancock said: “We’ve got to bring NHS technology into the 21st century. I’ve seen for myself how better technology and diagnosis can save clinicians’ time so they can concentrate on care.
“The NHS is now spearheading world-leading technologies that can transform and save lives through new treatments, diagnosis techniques and care.”
Hancock added that the benefits of technological advances in NHS care will “improve the lives of thousands of patients” across the UK.
Adult social care will receive a funding boost of £7.5m to help improve care delivery for some of the UK’s most vulnerable people, while £14m will be pumped into bioscience projects and technologies to improve the treatment of osteoarthritis and develop new vaccines.
Additionally, ministers announced that £30m of the total allocation will be focused on the Nucleic Acid Therapy Accelerator (NATA), which aims to create brand new therapies and technologies to treat diseases such as Huntingdon’s and cancer.
Business secretary Andrea Leadsom said: “Chronic and painful illnesses like arthritis and Parkinson’s are dreadful and prevent people from living a full life.
“Curing these kinds of debilitating illnesses is one of the great challenges we face globally, and today’s commitment will play a vital role in ensuring that our scientists and thinkers have the tools they need to find new treatments that will support people to lead longer, healthier lives.”