Press Release: Kheiron’s deep learning software for breast screening receives UK Government funding

RSNA Chicago,  November 27, 2018: Kheiron Medical Technologies has been granted government funding to test its deep learning breast cancer screening software within the NHS. The funding comes as part of NHS England’s Test Bed Program.

The Royal College of Radiologists has recognised a workforce crisis in breast screening, as each mammogram currently requires two consultant radiologists to interpret them, but staff shortages and impending retirements threaten the service. Kheiron is the first UK company to receive CE marking for deep learning technology in radiology. Their product, Mia, which can read screening mammograms like an independent reader alongside expert radiologists, is the first deep learning image analysis system to be tested within the NHS at this scale. Deep learning uses powerful artificial neural networks and high performance computing to analyse complex medical images with tremendous precision.

Dr Liz O’Riordan, breast cancer surgeon and breast cancer patient said, “As a patient and public advisor on this NHS testbed, an important part of my job is to help the general public understand how AI can benefit them. Right now there is a major shortage of breast radiologists in the UK and what most women don’t know is that every screening mammogram has to be looked at by two radiologists, which takes time. The deep learning software Kheiron is testing has been developed to ease this workload crisis, potentially speeding up the time it takes to get a screening result and hopefully allowing radiologists to spend more time looking after cancer patients.”

Kheiron are working in partnership with the East Midlands Radiology Consortium (EMRAD), an established collaboration of seven NHS Acute Trusts in the East Midlands. EMRAD is the largest collaborative network of hospitals in the UK to share a singular image sharing platform, supported by GE.

Dr Jonathan James, Consultant Breast Radiologist at the Nottingham Breast Institute said “Successful breast cancer screening in the UK and Europe involves the double reading of mammograms by two professionals.  We know that this approach maximises cancer detection rates whilst maintaining low numbers of women recalled back for additional tests, but is highly labour intensive. There are considerable workforce issues in breast cancer screening with unfilled posts and many centres in the UK struggling to meet targets. AI has the potential to provide a solution to the workforce crisis by supplementing at least one of these human mammography readers, freeing up professionals to speed up the patient journey through the rest of the diagnosis and treatment pathway. There are also wide variations in cancer detection and recall rates across screening programmes and this technology should bring an element of consistency to the reading process. I believe Kheiron’s AI technology has the potential to revolutionise the reading of screening mammograms in the UK and beyond.”

Kheiron was featured in the BBC Horizon documentary entitled “Diagnosis on Demand? The Computer Will See You Now”, which aired on November 1st 2018 on BBC Two. Dr Hannah Fry explores the incredible ways AI is revolutionising healthcare – and what this means for all of us.