The government has given funding to a new medical trial which uses artificial intelligence technology to automate part of the screening process for breast cancer.
A grant has been given to London-headquartered technology start-up Kheiron Medical, which uses a form of AI named deep learning to process millions of mammograms.
The company will test its software in conjunction with the East Midlands Radiology Consortium, which works across seven NHS Trusts in the East Midlands.
Kheiron Medical’s technology helps radiologists to process large numbers of mammograms in order to identify the small proportion of people who have breast cancer.
The NHS conducts “double reading” of mammograms, meaning that two different radiologists check the same images for signs of breast cancer.
Kheiron Medical acts as a second reader alongside human radiologists, helping to reduce the number of experts who have to be involved in the screening process.
Dr Jonathan James, a consultant breast radiologist at the Nottingham Breast Institute, said “I believe Kheiron’s AI technology has the potential to revolutionise the reading of screening mammograms in the UK and beyond.”
The start-up has made it clear that it doesn’t want to cause any radiologists to lose their jobs because its software is more efficient. “Our perspective on the role it will play and should play is not replacing doctors but supporting doctors,” said Sarah Kerruish, Kheiron Medical’s chief strategy officer.