SBRI awards £1M to cancer diagnosis technologies

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The NHS England funded initiative, which aims to bring the latest technology to the UK’s health system, announced that ten companies will share in a £1 million investment.

The ten projects will each receive between £94,000 and £100,000 and will be supported by the SBRI Healthcare team to demonstrate technical feasibility over a 6-month development phase. After the development phase, each company will have the opportunity to pitch for a further £1 million to further develop and commercialise their technology.

Among the ten companies include:

  • a digital platform that supports GPs to identify patients with suspected cancer early using the latest evidence from multiple diagnostic pathways to recommend appropriate tests, investigations or referrals a patient in under 30 seconds.
  • a non-invasive prostate liquid biopsy test for risk stratification of men suspected of prostate cancer to aid identification of those who will benefit from prostate biopsy and those who could safely forgo it.
  • an AI enabled diagnostic technology for the automatic identification of metastatic regions in lymph nodes to increase accuracy and speed of a cancer diagnosis. This will alleviate the current diagnostic bottle neck and associated delay in starting a patient’s treatment.
  • a development to an existing AI melanoma screening tool which assesses pigmented lesions at an early stage in a primary care setting, and has potential to significantly improve the skin cancer pathway and patient outcomes.

There are over 7,000 more people surviving cancer in England compared to three years ago. However, it is expected that at least 500,000 people will be diagnosed with cancer in the UK every year by 2035, an increase of 40% compared to current levels.

Stanley Kaye, professor of Medical Oncology, The Royal Marsden Hospital commented: “Earlier cancer diagnosis is now a major priority in the UK. With this in mind, it has been extremely encouraging to have the opportunity to examine the projects brought forward by SBRI Healthcare, who have played a major role in this context. The scope of the call was deliberately wide, the quality of applications was very high and judgement was therefore challenging.

“There are opportunities for improvement at various stages along the cancer journey, from initial presentation to more personalised screening and treatment, and the range of successful applications reflects this. We certainly look forward to hearing of the initial findings, and for cancer patients in the UK we are confident that the investment will be a worthwhile one.”

The full list of winners can be found here.

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