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New blood test to be rolled out for cancer

A NEW cancer diagnostic test with the potential to save hundreds of lives is to be rolled out across Cheshire and Merseyside.

The PinPoint Test analyses a blood sample using an artificial intelligence-based algorithm that will allow clinicians to identify patients both at high and very low risk of developing cancer.

It uses machine learning, a branch of artificial intelligence, to measure 33 biomarkers in the blood sample. This information is combined with other data, such as age and gender, to generate a single number – the chance that an individual has cancer.

Using the PinPoint Test in the earliest stages of clinical investigations means that doctors will be able to determine within 72 hours how likely it is a patient has cancer and either prioritise them for hospital testing or rule them out of the cancer pathway entirely.

Mike Kenny, Acting Co-Director of Enterprise and Growth at the Innovation Agency, said: “The test promises to have a significant impact on cancer care in our area: it takes the pressure off health services at a time when the pandemic is causing backlogs, and it helps reduce anxiety among patients by shortening the wait to a diagnosis.

“Our role at the Innovation Agency is to make sure healthcare innovations have a tangible impact on patient care so we’re delighted the funding was made available.”

The diagnostic test was developed using data taken from hundreds of thousands of patients investigated for cancer between 2011 and 2019.

The Innovation Agency will work with the Lancashire and South Cumbria Cancer Alliance and the Cheshire and Merseyside Cancer Alliance to spread the diagnostic test in the region.

Jon Hayes, Managing Director of Cheshire and Merseyside Cancer Alliance, said that while GPs around the country refer thousands of patients for urgent cancer tests every day, only around 7% turn out to have cancer.

“This new tool for intelligent triage will allow us to safely remove patients from those urgent referral pathways, reducing backlogs and allowing high-risk patients to access the specialists and facilities they need sooner,” he said.

  • DATA specialists PinPoint Data Science developed the test and the Innovation Agency, the NHS organisation that supports the spread of health and care innovations, will oversee its rollout in Lancashire and south Cumbria, as well as Cheshire and Merseyside.
  • PinPoint won £752,000 to support the rollout as part of a £9 million SBRI Healthcare project that helps innovators in the cancer field bring their work to the front line.



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