Theresa May: Use AI as 'weapon' against cancer

Mindy Sparks
May 23, 2018

Artificial intelligence will be used to transform cancer diagnosis in the United Kingdom, saving around 22,000 lives a year by 2033, under plans to be announced by Theresa May on Monday.

BBC health and science correspondent James Gallagher says Mrs May's plans do chime with excitement within medical science about the potential of using data and AI.

Speaking in Macclesfield, the Prime Minister will challenge the NHS, Artificial Intelligence (AI) sector and health charities to use AI to transform the diagnosis of chronic diseases.

Efforts to patch up the ethical holes have since been made, but there are still major concerns from both campaign groups and privacy experts about how companies should be given access to NHS data.

As of Friday, the national data opt-out will allow people to choose whether they want their health data to be used only for their own care, or for research and planning.

Campaigners blame funding shortages, but research by the King's Fund also found that hugely increased demand also played a key role in making it increasingly hard to meet targets.

According to Cancer Research, over 160,000 deaths resulted from cancer in 2016, accounting for one in four United Kingdom deaths. Digital strategies that could speed diagnosis and accuracy would lead to earlier and cheaper intervention. Late intervention is often invasive and expensive and ultimately unsuccessful.


In excess of 50,000 people will be diagnosed at the early stages of ovarian, prostate, bowel or lung cancer each year, according to government estimates.

Despite the controversy surrounding the sharing of confidential information with the private sector, Sir Hapal Kumar, the chief executive of Cancer Research UK, expressed his support for the project to the Guardian, and said it could save 22,000 lives from cancer each year by 2033.

AI is one of the four "grand challenges" at the heart of the government's industrial strategy.

The by-product of this new technology and its use to fight cancer is the fact that it will create lots of high skill job positions.

The country put together a £1.4 billion investment-more than $1.8 billion-to further general AI development.

For example, research we're funding at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford is using AI techniques to develop a new test using CT scans that could identify people at high risk of heart attacks and strokes earlier than is now possible.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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