Macmillan invests in Lucida Medical’s AI platform transforming the detection of prostate cancer

Macmillan Cancer Support is allocating £350,100 to fund Lucida Medical's innovative AI platform, Pi, aimed at enhancing the precision and efficiency of prostate cancer diagnostics.

This initiative is expected to bolster early detection and treatment, minimise the number of patients undergoing unnecessary invasive procedures, and potentially conserve NHS resources.

Prostate cancer ranks as the predominant cancer among men in the UK, affecting over 500,000 individuals and leading to more than 50,000 new cases annually. With projections indicating a rise to 1 million men living with prostate cancer by 2040, the urgency for advanced detection methods is clear. Contrary to the belief that prostate cancer is often harmless, it claims the lives of 12,000 men each year in the UK, highlighting the critical need for effective diagnostic solutions.

Lucida Medical's Pi platform employs cutting-edge AI technology trained to detect prostate cancer from MRI scans. Early analyses suggest that Pi achieves accuracy levels on par with expert radiologists, based on findings from the 2023 International Cancer Imaging Society annual meeting involving six NHS hospitals participating in the PAIR-1 clinical study. By integrating Pi into NHS diagnostic processes, there is potential to expedite radiologists' work and decrease the likelihood of overlooked cancers and unwarranted biopsies.

“We seek to give every radiologist technology that can precisely identify significant cancers, allowing more patients to benefit from early detection and treatment. At the same time, the accuracy of Pi™ could help reduce the numbers of prostate cancer-free men who undergo painful, potentially avoidable investigations, saving the NHS costs, helping address the shortage of radiologists, and cutting waiting lists,” commented Prof Evis Sala, Chief Medical Officer and co-founder of Lucida Medical.

Dr Antony Rix, CEO of Lucida Medical, added: “We are delighted to work with Macmillan, as a leading cancer charity who share our vision for Pi™ to transform the prospects of patients using AI. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in males and numbers are projected to rise 62% by 2040. Prostate cancer screening is associated with earlier stages of detection and better survival rates. Avoiding unnecessary biopsies can have a transformative impact on the NHS as well as on patients.”

“Lucida Medical uses artificial intelligence to support radiologists to interpret MRI scans. It has the potential to avoid thousands of unnecessary biopsies, alleviating pressure on the NHS workforce and budgets. For patients this would mean avoiding anxiety, unpleasant treatments and occasionally dangerous side-effects,” said Professor Richard Simcock, Chief Medical Officer at Macmillan.

“Artificial intelligence is already transforming advertising and other industries everywhere. And we’re delighted to invest in Lucida Medical to make that technology accessible to more radiologists within the NHS. Lucida Medical convinced us on its potential to support radiologists to detect cancer, avoid unnecessary biopsies and help save costs for the NHS during a time of crisis,” added Rachel Higham, CIO at WPP, Macmillan Trustee and Chair of its Impact Investment Advisory Group.

“Lucida Medical’s AI platform has the potential to transform the diagnosis of prostate cancer. Integrating AI with MRI analysis, Pi™ offers a level of precision in diagnosis that could greatly enhance the accuracy and efficiency of prostate cancer detection. Our consultations with leading clinicians, people with cancer, and health technology experts have all attested to the likely impact of Lucida’s technology in reducing the rate of missed cancers and unnecessary biopsies, thereby improving patient outcomes and experience. We are really excited about the possibilities this partnership brings and are deeply committed to advancing cancer care in the UK,” said Tanya Humphreys, Director of Innovation at Macmillan.

“The prospect of potentially having cancer and needing further tests can be anxiety inducing and very disruptive. Waiting for testing and then for results can be very taxing, not to mention the discomfort, pain and potential long-term consequences from many of these procedures. Lucida’s potential to reduce unnecessary biopsies will be significant for anyone going through this,’” emphasised Dawn Lee a cancer survivor and Associate Professor of Health Economics and Health Policy at the University of Exeter.

The investment in Lucida Medical is Macmillan Cancer Support’s second from its Innovation Impact Investment Portfolio. Over the next two years, the new portfolio will be investing £3.5 million in start-up businesses that are developing innovative cancer care products and technology. Macmillan will support Lucida Medical in a number of ways, including assisting the development of Pi with its Innovation Community, made up of people living with cancer.

Lucida Medical will demonstrate Pi at the 2024 European Congress of Radiology, where Dr Rix will present the results of the latest research on the Pi platform. Pi is available for use in the UK and EU to support the diagnosis of prostate cancer.