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UK Government Invests $66.6M to Scale Up AI-based Digital Pathology and Imaging

NEW YORK ─ The UK government on Saturday announced that it will provide £50 million ($66.6 million) in funding to scale up the work of current digital pathology and imaging artificial intelligence centers of excellence launched in 2018 to develop digital tools to improve the diagnosis of disease.

Three centers scheduled to receive a share of the funding will deliver digital upgrades to pathology and imaging services across 38 National Health Service (NHS) trusts, benefiting 26.5 million patients across England, according to the UK government's Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).

The centers receiving funding are London Medical Imaging and Artificial Intelligence Centre for Value-Based Healthcare, which will use artificial intelligence in medical imaging and related clinical data for faster and earlier diagnosis and automating expensive and time-consuming manual reporting; the National Pathology Imaging Collaborative in Leeds, which will create a center that links nine industry partners, eight universities, and nine NHS trusts; and Coventry-based Pathology Image Data Lake for Analytics, Knowledge, and Education, which will use NHS pathology data to drive economic growth in health-related artificial intelligence.

Funding will support the UK government's goal to detect 75 percent of cancers at an early stage by 2028 and aims to support faster and more accurate diagnosis and more personalized treatments for patients, freeing up clinicians’ time, DHSC said.

Darren Treanor, a consultant pathologist at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said in a statement that the new funding will enable the use of digital pathology to diagnose cancer at 21 NHS trusts in the north of England, serving a population of 6 million people. "We will also build a national network spanning another 25 hospitals in England, allowing doctors to get expert second opinions in rare cancers, such as childhood tumors, more rapidly," he said.