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  • Picture Platform to Help Tackle Major Health Issues
    Brain image
  • CT scan of chest

Picture Platform to Help Tackle Major Health Issues

May 14 2019 Read 298 Times

In a £4.4 million project led by the University of Dundee, millions of clinical images, created by x-rays, CT, MRI, Ultrasound, nuclear medicine and retinal investigations carried out by NHS Scotland are set to be turned into a powerful research tool to help tackle health conditions including lung cancer and dementia. Originally stored for clinical information the images also contain a great deal of potential information about the health of the individual which is currently not made use of in health care.

The PICTURES project led by Dundee in conjunction with the University of Edinburgh, Abertay University and NHS Scotland, will make use of the approximately 30 million images collected since 2006 and use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to search for such ‘warning signs’ in the images which predict the development of diseases. This will allow doctors in the future to make use of this information in routine care, greatly enhancing the clinical utility of routine scans.

The project has been funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC), Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (ESPRC) and industry partners to develop the technology that will unlock the huge additional potential of these images.

Dr Emily Jefferson, Director of the Health Informatics Centre at Dundee, said, “Clinical images are now core diagnostic technologies. These images can support many important areas of research to improve any or all diagnosis, monitoring of disease progression and response to treatment.

“Access to the vast bank of ‘real world’ images can offer a huge boost to research into major diseases and conditions and that is what we are looking to develop through the PICTURES study, initially using lung cancer and dementia as exemplar projects.”

Professor Edwin Van Beek of the University of Edinburgh said, “It is very exciting to be able to develop AI tools to enhance the diagnostic potential of CT scans in the chest and MRI scans of the brain, which currently don’t routinely assess cardiac or dementia risk in these patients. By having these tools provide information to clinicians, earlier treatment and management changes will improve health outcomes in the future.”

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