Global initiative gains significant ground in digitally identifying cancer risk before symptoms even start
The quest to eliminate lung cancer as a global cause of death has taken a positive step forward with 1 million-milestone met of a 5-million lung health Artificial Intelligence (AI) commitment. This new proactive initiative casts a wider net to currently invisible and unprofiled global patient populations, innovating beyond traditional lung cancer screening profiles such as age and smoking history.
The commitment was made at the 2022 World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Annual Meeting in Davos. It saw AstraZeneca
, a global biopharmaceutical company, join the WEF EDISON Alliance
, a partnership between commercial and non-profit sectors, to improve the lives of people through digital inclusion.
The power of AI to screen for lung cancer risk was adopted as part of the AstraZeneca EDISON Alliance health goals via a partnership with Qure.ai
, a global leader of medical imaging AI. In addition, this novel approach is a fundamental component of AstraZeneca’s A.Catalyst Network, a network of solutioners to improve patient outcomes, and the Lung Ambition Alliance, a global coalition with the bold ambition to eliminate lung cancer as a cause of death. AI-powered chest X-ray analysis for the incidental detection of high-risk nodules that can be indicative of lung cancer has therefore been rolled-out across resource constrained regions of the UK, Asia, Latin America, Middle East and Africa.
Highlights of one of the sites within this initiative were recently presented at the World Conference on Lung Canceri and at The Union World Conference on Lung Health 2023. In Vietnam, using Qure's AI enabled chest X-ray solution qXR, 31,000 chest X-rays were analysed identifying 212 individuals with lung nodules requiring further diagnostic analysis via CT scans. Of these, 19 individuals were then flagged as high risk and warranting further follow-up as per standard lung cancer detection guidelines.
Nipun Jain, Head of International A.Catalyst Network at AstraZeneca states, "Our partnership with Qure.ai represents a critical step in our commitment to the EDISON Alliance's 1 billion Lives Challenge. Lung cancer remains a major global health concern, and it is through applying AI to screen for lung cancer risk in millions of routine X-rays, that it will provide a low-cost, high-impact way of ensuring at-risk patients enter the right diagnostic and care pathway. This milestone exemplifies our A.Catalyst Network approach to expanding access to digital healthcare and driving sustainable change in the communities we serve."
Prashant Warier, Co-Founder and CEO of Qure.ai states, “Touching a million human lives with the positive power of healthcare AI is just the beginning. This milestone is testament to digital health innovation and public private partnerships. Together with AstraZeneca, we are determined to make a significant difference in the early diagnosis of lung cancer in regions and to people that need it most."
continues to be the leading cause of cancer-related death worldwide, with 1.8 million deaths calculated in 2020ii. Early detection is crucial to put patients into treatment pathways, to enhance the chances of survival.