UK charity Macmillan Cancer Support has invested £350,000 ($442,000) into an artificial intelligence (AI) powered software designed to help expedite the diagnosis of prostate cancer.

The investment into Lucida Medical’s AI platform, dubbed Pi, comes as part of the charity’s £3.5m investment plan to boost the development of technologies with the potential to impact prostate cancer rates across the UK.

Lucida Medical’s Pi software uses an AI that has been trained to identify signs of prostate cancer taken from MRI scans. Initial trial results presented by the company at the 2023 International Cancer Imaging Society annual meeting, dubbed the PAIR-1 study, detailed how the software has an accuracy comparable to that of a professional radiologist.

Lucida Medical CEO Antony Rix said: “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.”

The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) estimates that more than 500,000 men are living with prostate cancer across the UK, with a further 50,000 diagnosed each year and these numbers are expected to steadily grow. Macmillan estimates that there will be one million men living with prostate cancer in the UK by 2040.

Other AI-driven platforms designed to identify different forms of cancer themselves have seen steady progression to market such as Philadelphia-based software firm Proscia, which has received 510(k) clearance from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its Concentriq AP-Dx pathology system. At the same time, the FDA has granted breakthrough designation to Canadian medtech company Geneseeq for its CanScan software, designed to identify several types of cancer.

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“Lucida Medical’s AI platform has the potential to transform the diagnosis of prostate cancer,” said Tanya Humphreys, director of innovation at Macmillan.

“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.”