The UK Government has announced plans to open five new centres of excellence focussed on the use of artificial intelligence (AI) for digital pathology and medical imaging.

In line with the country’s Industrial Strategy, the new initiative aims to accelerate disease diagnosis with advances in medical technology. The detection of diseases at an earlier stage is expected to improve patient outcomes.

The new AI medical centres will receive a total of £50m of funding under the government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. They are set to be led by some of the country’s biggest medical companies such as GE Healthcare, Siemens, Philips, Leica, Canon and Roche Diagnostics.

“The new AI medical centres will receive a total of £50m of funding under the government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.”

Doctors, businesses and academics will join these facilities to create digital technology-based products for medical use. These products will be designed to enable more personalised treatment.

The investment in large-scale genomics and image analysis is anticipated to offer new insights into the development of complex diseases, which would enable medical professionals to administer the right treatment at the right time.

UK Business Secretary Greg Clark said: “AI has the potential to revolutionise healthcare and improve lives for the better.

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“The innovation at these new centres will help diagnose disease earlier to give people more options when it comes to their treatment, and make reporting more efficient, freeing up time for our much-admired NHS staff time to spend on direct patient care.”

One of the AI medical centres, London Medical Imaging and Artificial Intelligence Centre for Value-Based Healthcare will use AI in medical imaging and associated clinical data for fast and early diagnosis.

The Industrial Centre for AI Research in Digital Diagnostics (I-CAIRD) in Glasgow will focus on finding quick and efficient solutions for healthcare challenges.

In Oxford, National Consortium of Intelligent Medical Imaging (NCIMI) will explore the role of clinical imaging in earlier diagnosis and more personalised care.

The Northern Pathology Imaging Collaborative (NPIC) will be opened in Leeds to work on digital pathology research.

Meanwhile, the Pathology image data Lake for Analytics, Knowledge and Education (PathLAKE) will be based in Coventry and leverage NHS pathology data to bolster health-related AI.

All the centres are scheduled to begin operations next year.

Last month, the UK announced an additional investment of £235m to support the development and commercialisation of quantum technologies.