AstraZeneca partners with Qure.ai for early stage diagnoses of lung cancer

The partnership aims to reduce mortality rates through the integration of new technologies in developing markets.
By Sara Mageit
09:53 am
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Credit: Qure.ai / AstraZeneca

Global biopharmaceutical company, AstraZeneca has announced a partnership through its Emerging Markets Health Innovation Hubs programme, with India-based AI solution provider, Qure.ai.

The partnership aims to to integrate AI solutions for the early detection of lung cancer in patients across AstraZeneca’s Emerging Markets regions, covering Latin America, Asia and the Middle East & Africa.

WHY IT MATTERS

According to the World Health Organization, globally, chest X-rays are the most commonly ordered diagnostic imaging test, with millions of scans performed every year.

Furthermore, the Radiological Society of North America has found that although chest X-rays are easily performed in primary care and referral settings, the interpretation of these X-rays requires significant skill and experience, and lack of expertise in reading the imaging can result in missed or delayed diagnosis.

Qure.ai’s chest X-ray interpretation tool, is able to detect and localise up to 29 abnormalities, including those indicative of possible lung cancer.

A study conducted by Qure.ai demonstrated a 17% improvement in sensitivity when using AI to interpret chest X-rays, compared to radiologist readings. Such aids in early detection can have long-term benefits for medical professionals in their efforts to tackle lung cancer, as well as lower cost per-life-year saved.

The AstraZeneca and Qure.ai partnership aims to scale-up the use of this technology to improve early-stage detection of lung cancer in the markets involved, to reduce mortality rates and improve patient outcomes.

As part of the collaboration, AstraZeneca’s Emerging Markets Health Innovation Hubs will work with Qure.ai to explore the application of deep learning algorithms to identify patients with radiographic lung abnormalities and support their referral to receive a diagnosis.

THE LARGER CONTEXT

Oxford University and AstraZeneca released analysis results for their coronavirus vaccine today. Trial data on over 20,000 people published in The Lancet has stated that the vaccination is up to 90% effective in preventing COVID-19.

Earlier this year, FDA cleared Propeller Health sensor for use with AstraZeneca's Symbicort inhaler, giving the digital respiratory company access to 90% of the US asthma and COPD market.

ON THE RECORD

Leon Wang, AstraZeneca EVP international and country president China, said “Improving long-term outcomes in lung cancer relies heavily on clinicians being able to identify patients in the early stages of the disease – giving them a better chance to provide curative-intent treatment.

"Qure.ai’s deep learning algorithm-based technology has the potential to provide clinicians with faster, more accurate diagnoses based on chest X-rays, helping secure those early-stage diagnoses and deliver better outcomes for patients. Innovations such as this are critical for boosting the capabilities of healthcare ecosystem, not just in Emerging Markets, but around the world, and this partnership supports our bold ambition of eliminating cancer as a cause of death.”

Prashant Warier, CEO and co-founder, Qure.ai, said “The software’s ability to process analogue and digital chest X-rays in a minute can help physicians in incidental diagnoses of lung cancer by pointing out small lung nodules which could have been missed in a cursory review. The solution also detects several other types of abnormalities from chest X-rays that are linked to infection, injuries and chronic diseases, and flags these to the physician, potentially creating other diagnostic pathways.”

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