AstraZeneca has collaborated with Malaysia-based Institut Kanser Negara (IKN) to introduce artificial intelligence (AI) X-ray technology for lung screening.

As part of the Projek Saringan Awal Paru-Paru (SAPU) programme, this AI technology will be utilised for early lung screening at government clinics and hospitals.

By acting as a catalyst, the SAPU project intends to promote the use of AI X-ray screening in other government healthcare facilities to improve early screening for lung abnormalities and advance research in lung care.

The initiative is part of AstraZeneca’s Lung Ambition Alliance programme, which began in 2021 with early AI-powered lung cancer screening at private clinics and primary care facilities.

Later, the company also collaborated with three private hospitals to expand its screening programme to enable patient referral from clinics for further diagnosis utilising a low-dose computed tomography scan.

Under Projek SAPU, the AI technology will also be used in a pilot study at selected government clinics and hospitals across Malaysia.

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The selected centres will serve as “sandbox sites” for the collation of data on the roll-out results.

Data gathered from the programme will be utilised for understanding the local landscape and disease demographics in Malaysia.

Institut Kanser Negara director Dr Mohd Anis bin Haron @ Harun said: “Our partnership with AstraZeneca is a right step in the direction of reducing the burden of NCDs in the country through early diagnosis.

“IKN recognises that integrating AI technology into healthcare will also pave the way in transforming the future landscape of health diagnosis.”