Over the next three months each of these winning projects will use this new funding to develop and demonstrate the feasibility of their innovative new tools. Two of the three projects will then be selected to progress to the next stage of the challenge, which will see them receive further funding of up to £125,000 to develop prototypes over a six-month period.
Each of these projects has the potential to dramatically impact the diagnosis, treatment and patient outcomes in Scotland. Edinburgh based, Canon Medical Research Europe and Sharpe Analytics are two of the winners along with Jayex Technology, which is based in London.
Dr Hilary Dobson OBE is Deputy Director of the Innovative Healthcare Delivery Programme and Clinical Lead on this Cancer Innovation Challenge funding call said of the projects: “The response to this funding call was very strong.”
“The selection criteria spanned clinical, technological, academic and business considerations, crucially with improving patient outcomes at their core. The three successful projects demonstrated really strong possibilities for revolutionising cancer care in this country. We are excited to see how each of them develops during this stage of the process.”
Key Objectives for Projects
Each of the projects seeks to deliver at least one of these objectives:
- Enable analysis of unstructured data (e.g. clinical notes, medical imaging)
- Enable data driven clinical decisions
- Enable data driven service improvement in the NHS
- Enable data driven recruitment for clinical trials
- Enable the adoption of precision medical approaches
Using Data to Revolutionise Cancer Treatment
Canon Medical Research Europe is working with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde to develop a project aimed at creating an assessment tool for Malignant pleural Mesothelioma, an asbestos-related cancer, which has a particularly high rate of occurrence in Scotland. The goal is to use machine learning to automate the assessment of Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors, commonly known as RECIST scoring, the method for assessing response to cancer treatment. Their overall aim is to create a fully automated reporting system.
Sharpe Analytics plans to utilise the power of machine learning to generate tools for the prediction of outcomes for Scottish cancer patients. Using data analysis and interpretation of various data types the tool will support clinicians in their treatment decisions, which rely heavily on analysis and interpretation of various data types. Ultimately it could aid with patient management and offer more accurate predictions, which will help guide resource allocation and planning.
Utilising More Than 30 Years of NHS Data
Jayex Technology Ltd is working with NHS Lothian on a proof of concept focusing on haematology cancers. They will try to standardise and migrate existing data collected by clinicians over 30+ years from legacy systems, to a new, cutting-edge platform, mapped to a global data standard. The platform will also enable adoption of precision medicine approaches it allows future mapping of genomics and analysis of unstructured data.
Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, Paul Wheelhouse said: “We are committed to developing Scotland as a centre for innovation, life sciences and world-class clinical research. The £1 million Cancer Innovation Challenge Fund plays a key role in supporting entrepreneurship and new approaches in this crucial area of medicine.”
“This funding will allow these companies to take the next step towards developing new approaches to the diagnosis and treatment of blood, kidney and tissue cancers, using advances in machine learning and automation to deliver better outcomes for patients.”