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Patients in Liverpool to benefit from innovative cancer test

10 months ago

By The Guide Liverpool

Patients in Liverpool to benefit from innovative cancer test

A new cancer diagnostic test with the potential to save hundreds of lives is to be rolled out across Cheshire and Merseyside.

The PinPoint Test analyses a blood sample using an artificial intelligence-based algorithm that will allow clinicians to identify patients both at high risk and at very low risk of developing cancer.

Data specialists PinPoint Data Science have developed the test and the Innovation Agency, the NHS organisation that supports the spread of health and care innovations, will oversee its rollout in Lancashire and south Cumbria, as well as Cheshire and Merseyside.

PinPoint won £752,000 to support the rollout as part of a £9 million SBRI Healthcare project that helps innovators in the cancer field bring their work to the front line.

The diagnostic test was developed using data taken from hundreds of thousands of patients investigated for cancer between 2011 and 2019. It uses machine learning, a branch of artificial intelligence, to measure 33 biomarkers in the blood sample. This information is combined with other data, such as age and gender, to generate a single number – the chance that an individual has cancer.

Using the PinPoint Test in the earliest stages of clinical investigations means that doctors will be able to determine within 72 hours how likely it is a patient has cancer and either prioritise them for hospital testing or rule them out of the cancer pathway entirely.

Mike Kenny, Acting Co-Director of Enterprise and Growth at the Innovation Agency, said:

“The test promises to have a significant impact on cancer care in our area: it takes the pressure off health services at a time when the pandemic is causing backlogs, and it helps reduce anxiety among patients by shortening the wait to a diagnosis.

“Our role at the Innovation Agency is to make sure healthcare innovations have a tangible impact on patient care so we’re delighted the funding was made available.”

The Innovation Agency will work with the Lancashire and South Cumbria Cancer Alliance and the Cheshire and Merseyside Cancer Alliance to spread the diagnostic test in the region.

Jon Hayes, Managing Director of Cheshire and Merseyside Cancer Alliance, said it was an NHS priority to fast-track high-quality cancer innovations.

“The PinPoint Test is already being evaluated in West Yorkshire where the health service and industry have worked very effectively together. We’re looking forward to making sure the benefits of the test are felt in our area.”

Mr Hayes added that while GPs around the country refer thousands of patients for urgent cancer tests every day, only around seven per cent turn out to have cancer.

“This new tool for intelligent triage will allow us to safely remove patients from those urgent referral pathways, reducing backlogs and allowing high-risk patients to access the specialists and facilities they need sooner,” he said.

Amanda Short, Associate Director of Transformation and Innovation at Lancashire and South Cumbria Cancer Alliance, said: “It’s clear that technical innovation is going to be crucial to improving cancer services so we’re delighted to be involved in the early stages of such an exciting project.”

SBRI Healthcare is an NHS initiative, supported by the AHSN Network, which includes the Innovation Agency. It aims to support economic growth while meeting health priorities.

PinPoint Data Science was one of eight organisations, among 51 that applied, to win funding for late-stage cancer projects that improve cancer diagnosis.

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