News in Brief

News in brief: funding for AI in radiotherapy, robotic operations in London, funding for antibody discovery platform and more

Join us for our latest news in brief, where we take a look at some of the health tech news to have caught our eye over the last few weeks.

£15.5 million in government funding for AI tech roll-out to all radiotherapy departments in England 

In a recent press release, the government announced £15.5 million in funding for the roll-out of AI technology across all radiotherapy departments in England, with the aim of reducing cancer waiting times.

The AI technology reportedly has the potential to locate cancer cells “2.5 times quicker” than the human eye alone by automatically reviewing a CT or MRI scan. It it hoped that it will be able to help doctors “quickly distinguish between cancerous cells and healthy organs…to prevent healthy organs from being damaged during radiation treatment”.

Dr Imogen Locke, national speciality adviser for radiotherapy at NHS England, said: “The NHS is embracing AI and its benefits for cancer patients and every radiotherapy department will soon be able to offer the latest technology to help diagnose and treat patients more quickly. We are seeing a record number of referrals for suspected cancer, and game-changing tools like AI will help the NHS continue the significant progress made in tackling the longest waits for patients.”

London-based drug discovery company raises £35 million to develop machine learning-driven antibody discovery platform 

London-based drug discovery company, LabGenius, has successfully raised £35 million in Series B financing for its machine learning-driven antibody discovery platform.

The platform utilises an active learning method called “Multi-Objective Bayesian Optimisation (MOBO)” to “enable the efficient co-optimisation of antibodies across multiple important properties”.

Dr. James Field, CEO of LabGenius, said: “Being able to engineer complex multispecific antibodies has immense potential value. Over several years, the LabGenius team has pioneered the development of EVA™ – a discovery platform that’s capable of systematically identifying novel high-performing multispecific antibodies with non-intuitive designs. I am inspired by the relentless drive that our team has shown in getting us to this important milestone and look forward to working with our investors as we accelerate the development of both our platform and pipeline.”

New inclusive self-help website launched in Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear

Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust has launched a new self-help website, designed to enhance user experience and accessibility, whilst making self-help guides “accessible to as many people as possible”.

The trust has shared that the website complies with WCAG 2.2 guidelines, is triple AAA standard meaning that it is “accessible to all users, including those with disabilities”, and offers users the option to personalise their experience by tailoring content “to their specific needs and preferences”.

Karen O’Rourke, patient information centre manager, said: “We’re thrilled to launch the new website for our self-help guides. With information so freely available online, it can be hard for people to find high quality, accurate and up-to-date information. People can have confidence in reading our guides knowing they have been written with the help of NHS professionals, service users and carers, and that they are easier to access than ever before.”

“Robotic hernia super-Saturday” at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital sees 11 robotic operations completed

Surgeons at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital successfully completed 11 robotic operations on patients with groin hernias, during what the trust is referring to as ‘robotic hernia super-Saturday’, an initiative aimed at reducing waiting lists and helping patients to recover more quickly.

The operations were carried out “using two high tech robots in side-by-side theatres”, reducing the variation in set up and equipment, which “led to a more efficient process”. According to the trust’s website, “8 of the 11 patients went home the same day, with the rest leaving the next morning”.

James Smellie, clinical director of surgery and consultant general & endocrine surgeon, said: “Saturday is an example of the incredible results that can be achieved for our patients through a combination of embracing technological advances and the hard work of our team. Using new surgical techniques like the DaVinci robots not only enable surgeons and care teams to deliver improved patient outcomes, but it also helps us to improve theatre productivity and efficiency so that more patients can be treated.”

Calls for public input on new trust website in Hounslow and Richmond

Hounslow and Richmond Community Healthcare NHS Trust has launched a call for input from members of the public on the planning and design of a new website, in preparation for the trust’s planned merger with Kingston Hospital.

Two initial online engagement sessions are being held on Tuesday the 4th June 11-12am, and Thursday the 6th June 3-4pm. Those interested in contributing are invited to register here.