Breast Cancer: Artificial Intelligence

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 18th January 2018.

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Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department uses artificial intelligence to spot breast Cancer.

Photo of Steve Brine Steve Brine The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

We are aware of a study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology into Artificial Intelligence (AI) in diagnosing breast cancer in women. Modern digital pathology techniques have created the opportunity to produce AI-based algorithms that could provide grading of tumours and prognostic insights that are not currently available through conventional methodology. However, the future availability of any new or novel tests on the National Health Service would be subject to large scale clinical trials demonstrating the safety and efficacy of the diagnostic approach and subsequent assessments of its cost effectiveness for routine use. Through its technology appraisal programme, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) provides authoritative, evidence-based guidance for the NHS on whether drugs and other treatments represent an effective use of NHS resources. NHS commissioners are legally required to fund drugs and treatments recommended by NICE within three months of final guidance.

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