Cambridge University Hospitals deploys AI models into routine clinical practice

Cambridge University Hospitals NHS FT has started to deploy its machine learning models developed with Microsoft Research over eight years, into routine clinical practice.

The artificial intelligence (AI) tools are being introduced to automate radiotherapy preparations, to reduce cancer waiting times.

The AI technology, known as InnerEye, is a result of an eight-year collaboration between Cambridge-based Microsoft Research and Addenbrooke’s.

Microsoft Research InnerEye recently made the AI tools available as open-source technology and have found working with CUH, the tool can cut preparation time by up to 90%.

Addenbrooke’s oncologist, Cambridge University researcher and InnerEye co-lead Dr Raj Jena said: “These results are a game-changer. To be diagnosed with a tumour of any kind is an incredibly traumatic experience for patients. So as clinicians we want to start radiotherapy promptly to improve survival rates and reduce anxiety. Using machine learning tools can save time for busy clinicians and help get our patients onto treatment as quickly as possible.”

Dr Yvonne Rimmer, oncologist at Addenbrooke’s, said: “There is no doubt that InnerEye is saving me time. It’s very good at understanding where tumours and healthy organs are. It’s speeding up the process so I can concentrate on looking at a patient’s diagnostic images and tailoring treatment to them.”
“But it’s important for patients to know that the AI is helping me do my job; it’s not replacing me in the process. I double check everything the AI does and can change it if I need to. The key thing is that most of the time, I don’t need to change anything.”

Javier Alvarez-Valle, Principal Research Manager at Microsoft Research Cambridge, said: “AI models trained with InnerEye are changing the way cancer is treated, speeding up the process to give patients greater peace of mind and empowering clinical oncologists with an AI assistant.”
“The AI works in the background, so clinical oncologists just open up the scans on their computer and they can see what their AI model has highlighted. The clinical oncologist then decides what to do with that information.”
HTN recently welcomed Javier Alvarez-Valle and Dr Raj Jena to share the project as part of HTN Now. You can view the session here >
Watch an overview of the project here: 


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