Eight new projects in cancer care are being fast-tracked into the NHS to see how they can benefit patients by detecting the condition early (Peter Byrne/PA)
06 February 2022

Phone technology among ‘cutting-edge’ cancer projects awarded £10m funding

06 February 2022

An adapter that can turn a mobile phone into essential diagnostic equipment for head and neck cancers is among pioneering new technology being awarded funding this week.

Other technologies include an artificial intelligence system that can interpret and prioritise abnormal chest X-rays to help spot lung cancer sooner.

Eight projects, described as “cutting-edge” by NHS England (NHSE) will share a total of almost £10 million, following an open call for innovation in cancer care last year.

NHSE said thousands of patients will benefit from the new technology  which aims to “revolutionise cancer testing techniques across the country”.

The organisation said a new smart blood test – known as the PinPoint test – will use artificial-intelligence to allow a fifth of patients to be ruled out of having one of the nine most common forms of the disease, including breast, gynaecological, skin and head and neck cancers.

NHSE said health chiefs have hailed the test as a “potentially revolutionary new tool” to help the patients with a high risk of cancer to be diagnosed and treated more quickly, as well as giving reassurance to those patients who are unlikely to have cancer.

Meanwhile an endoscope-smartphone adapter can turn an iPhone into equipment which can be used to diagnose head and neck cancers.

The projects supported by these awards... we hope will bring us closer to the day when no patient dies of cancer

Other projects to get a share of the funding will use digital technologies, such as mobile communication platforms and apps for faster cancer detection and to better organise services and reduce the NHS’s cancer care costs, NHSE said.

The organisation said the projects are being fast-tracked into the NHS “to see how they can benefit patients by detecting cancer early and improve the efficiency of diagnostic services, in a real-world setting”.

Professor Peter Johnson, clinical director of the NHS cancer programme, said: “Working out how to make use of ground-breaking ideas like the PinPoint test is key to improving outcomes for people with cancer.

“The companies and hospitals pioneering these innovative ideas are leading the way, and will help us to diagnose cancer earlier when it is easier to treat – potentially save thousands of lives.

“Today’s development funding, which is part of our open call initiative, is just one of many opportunities to attract and fast-track high quality innovations into the NHS, supporting the ambitions of the NHS Long Term Plan and vitally, improving care for our patients.”

Professor Richard Gilbertson, chair of the NHS innovation external advisory board, said: “The projects supported by these awards are the first of many new devices and diagnostics that we hope will bring us closer to the day when no patient dies of cancer.”

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