Leeds researchers have been awarded a £10.1m investment from UK Research and Innovation to expand a digital pathology and artificial intelligence programme across the North of England.
Greg Clark, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), announced the investment today (Tuesday), as part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.
The University of Leeds and Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust welcomed the announcement of national funding which will allow the creation of a digital pathology clinical network and research programme.
The successful partnership bid led by the University of Leeds and Leeds Teaching Hospitals embraces a network of nine NHS hospitals, seven universities and ten industry-leading medical technology companies, called the Northern Pathology Imaging Co-operative (NPIC).
The investment of £10.1m from UK Research and Innovation is boosted by an initial investment of £7m from the companies involved in the programme.
The consortium is now set to become a globally-leading centre for applying artificial intelligence (AI) research to cancer diagnosis.
Sir Alan Langlands, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leeds, said: “Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust is a global leader in the area of digital pathology for cancer diagnosis, thanks to the close links with academic researchers. We are now expanding this digitisation across the north through this exciting partnership between universities, the NHS and industry.
“Going forward, new technologies such as artificial intelligence have the potential to transform how we diagnose cancer and other diseases, and the University is making great advances in this area.”
Dr Yvette Oade, Chief Medical Officer at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “This is a really exciting step for patients because computers using artificial intelligence can be trained to recognise the patterns of disease. Machines will support clinically trained pathologists to diagnose cancer faster, better and at lower cost.
“This is a huge opportunity for Yorkshire to lead in this new area and further enhance our position as a hub for medical technology.”
NPIC will put new digital pathology scanners into a network of northern NHS hospitals, including all of the hospitals across West Yorkshire and Harrogate, to gather digital pathology images for training AI systems. This will generate about 760,000 images per year, about 1.2 Petabytes of data.
The project also aims to develop more integrated ways of working across regional clinical pathology services.
Clinicians will then work with industry and academic researchers to make new AI systems capable of analysing digital pathology images leading to better diagnoses for diseases like cancer.
The work will stimulate AI research locally in academic and business sectors, creating jobs and supporting economic growth across the Leeds City Region.
Dr Mike Messenger, Head of the Leeds Centre for Personalised Medicine and Health, said: “Personalised medicine lets us take a deeper look at each person’s individual biology so we can better understand what the right treatment at the right time might be for that person.
“The investment announced today is great news for patients and their families in our region. Through enhanced digital health information we can better understand the causes and effects of disease and therefore tailor treatment and care more effectively for our patients.”
A key part of the project is to consider the ethics of data sharing to ensure NPIC partners abide by the highest professional standards when images are utilised for research purposes.
NPIC will engage patients and the public in a programme of work about the use of anonymised images for AI research. It will also inform the development of a ‘national pathology exchange’ – software that allows images to be shared between NHS sites nationally so that patients can benefit from second opinions from anywhere in the UK.
For more information please contact press officer Simon Moore at the University of Leeds on 0113 34 38059 or email@example.com, or Ross Langford from Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust on 0113 206 4098, 07917882958 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Northern Pathology Imaging Co-operative (NPIC) is led by the University of Leeds and Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. Its 26 members include the University of Manchester, University of Nottingham, University of Oxford, Heterogenius Limited, Microsoft Limited, Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust, Sectra Limited, Newcastle University, Roche Diagnostics Limited, University of Sheffield, Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust, FFEI Limited, Clinisys Group Limited, Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, University of Liverpool, X-Lab Limited, Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust, The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, mTuitive UK Limited, Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Futamura Chemical UK Limited and Leica Biosystems Limited.
University of Leeds
The University of Leeds is one of the largest higher education institutions in the UK, with more than 34,000 students from more than 150 different countries, and a member of the Russell Group of research-intensive universities. The University plays a significant role in the Turing, Rosalind Franklin and Royce Institutes.
We are a top ten university for research and impact power in the UK, according to the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, and are in the top 100 of the QS World University Rankings 2019. Additionally, the University was awarded a Gold rating by the Government’s Teaching Excellence Framework in 2017, recognising its ‘consistently outstanding’ teaching and learning provision. Twenty-six of our academics have been awarded National Teaching Fellowships – more than any other institution in England, Northern Ireland and Wales – reflecting the excellence of our teaching. www.leeds.ac.uk
Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust is one of the largest teaching hospitals in Europe, a regional and national centre for specialist treatment. We have a world renowned biomedical research facility, a leading clinical trials research unit and we are a national leader in the recruitment of patients into clinical trials.
Leeds Cancer Centre provides some of the most advanced treatment and care for patients with cancer anywhere in the world. It is one of the largest comprehensive cancer centres in the country and is recognised as a world leader in cancer research and innovation.
Our partnership with the University of Leeds makes us a global leader in Digital Pathology research. We use some of the most advanced diagnostic imaging and medical technology; our patients have access to world-class, state-of-the-art radiotherapy and we have one of the largest single hospital pathology departments in the country.
The Leeds Centre for Personalised Medicine and Health is hosted by the University of Leeds and is a project of Leeds Academic Health Partnership.
United Kingdom Research and Innovation (UKRI)
UKRI is a new body which works in partnership with universities, research organisations, businesses, charities, and government to create the best possible environment for research and innovation to flourish. Operating across the whole of the UK with a combined budget of more than £6 billion, UK Research and Innovation brings together the seven Research Councils, Innovate UK and a new organisation, Research England.