NHS trust

Cambridge University Hospitals consultant awarded funding to explore AI and video to identify gastric cancer

Cambridge University Hospitals NHS FT Consultant gastroenterologist, Dr Massimiliano di Pietro, has been awarded a funding grant of up to £365,000 to explore how artificial intelligence and video can help identify gastric cancer at an earlier stage.

The funding for the programme, part of a wider £6 million Cancer Research UK investment, aims to utilise artificial intelligence and develop new AI models, with an aim to improve examinations by endoscopists and identify signet ring cell carcinoma in its early stages.

Dr di Pietro, Consultant gastroenterologist, who is also a clinician scientist at the Early Cancer Institute, University of Cambridge, said: “Our goal is not just about technological advancement but a reimagining of early cancer detection. In the future more doctors could offer very accurate endoscopic examinations to allow detection not only in people with genetic predisposition to stomach cancer, but to everyone undergoing diagnostic endoscopy.

“The backing from Cancer Research UK enables us to explore new horizons in the early diagnosis of rare cancers, marking a significant stride in the battle against gastric cancer. This initiative promises a beacon of hope, ensuring that future generations are equipped to confront this challenge head-on.”

Earlier in the year, HTN reported on Cambridge University Hospitals’ ‘CUH Together 2025’ strategy, that highlights the role of digital and technology in improving care as well as outlining plans around the development of targeted services, virtual wards, patient portals, digital consent and more.

The strategy summarises key commitments across patient care, supporting staff and building for the future, with the use of data to target services where they are most needed is highlighted as a key focus for the trust in working towards its strategic priorities for 2025, which include reducing unnecessary hospitalisations and working collaboratively with partners and other organisations.

On utilising AI at Cambridge University Hospitals, HTN highlighted the impact of an artificial intelligence tool, developed at Addenbrooke’s, in reducing the amount of preparation time for radiotherapy treatment. The solution, OSAIRIS, is being used at Addenbrooke’s for prostate and head and neck cancers, and is said to “significantly reduce the amount of time a doctor needs to spend drawing around healthy organs on scans before radiotherapy”.