NHS trials AI software to beat breast cancer

In an effort to deal with a shortage of radiologists affecting hospitals, several European companies have trained AI to detect signs of breast cancer.

Kheiron Medical recently announced that it will use AI algorithms to try to diagnose breast cancer with a trial on historic scans launching this month at a NHS trust in Leeds. The company's technology will also be tested against tens of thousands of historic scans in the East Midlands.

Google's own AI company, DeepMind has also recently begun a trial with the NHS and the Dutch company ScreenPoint Medical has developed similar technology.

All of these companies are testing their algorithms on tens of thousands of mammograms to determine if they can train them to identify signs of breast cancer with the same competency as a human radiologists.

Training algorithms

Kheiron's algorithm has been trained on half a million scans from hospitals in Hungary and according to the startup, its technology can beat the average performance of a human radiologist when tested against 3,500 scans.

The company's clinical director Hugh Harvey explained its testing process to the Financial Times, saying:

“The first phase is that we are doing large-scale analysis on historic data and when we’re happy that the algorithm is performing optimally . . . we’ll begin to test it on live patients.” 

Hospitals in the UK are facing a severe shortage of radiologists and hopefully one day AI will allow them to read scans without the need for human staff. However, we are still quite a ways away from this becoming the norm though great progress has been made in the field so far.

Via The Financial Times

Anthony Spadafora

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.