OCFI businesses collaborate to accelerate lung cancer diagnosis

OCFI-based businesses Optellum – a high-tech start-up looking at decision support systems for personalised diagnosis of lung cancer – and Mirada Medical – an established leader in medical imaging software – are joining forces to accelerate a “deep learning” based lung cancer diagnosis product. The collaboration will combine the technology and clinical expertise of Optellum with the software platforms and rapid development know-how of Mirada. The aim is to address a huge problem in lung cancer diagnosis: the management of patients who have nodules on their lungs that may, or may not, be cancerous.

An Oxford start-up, Optellum is chaired by Professor Sir Michael Brady, winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award at our 2017 Enterprise Awards. He is also the founder of Mirada Medical, started in Oxford but now an international brand.

Millions of chest scans are performed every year to screen for everything from lung cancer to suspected cardiac disease. In the process, these scans can often detect pulmonary nodules in the lung. In fact, up to thirty percent of all patients scanned have these small nodules but the vast majority are harmless. However, radiologists struggle to work out whether the nodules are cancerous, or not. This means that patients often require follow-up imaging to monitor growth and sometimes biopsies and surgeries to investigate nodules that turn out to be benign. This is obviously stressful and uncomfortable for the patient, can carry a risk of complications, and presents a huge burden on healthcare resources.

The collaboration of these two OCFI-based businesses hopes to solve this problem by developing the world’s first imaging Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based decision support software to improve patient management and reduce unnecessary follow-up procedures. The software provides expert-level decision support that can improve a doctor’s ability to correctly diagnose lung nodules.

That’s what we like to hear. We are proud that this collaboration is happening under our roof at OCFI, right in the heart of Oxford.