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The Oxford Centre for Project PathLAKE (Pathology image data Lake for Education, Analytics and Discovery) has been awarded £2.7m from government and industry, funded through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund is the government’s flagship investment programme, which focuses on addressing the opportunities and challenges of the future, and which is managed by UK Research and Innovation.

Oxford PathLAKE is led by Professor Clare Verrill, from the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences (NDS), who also works in the Oxford University Hospitals Cellular Pathology team, and who, with funding through the Oxford BRC’s Molecular Diagnostics Theme, was able to establish a successful programme on digital pathology and AI, which generated the pilot data that underpinned the application and allowed the team to take part in a collaborative programme proposal with Philips. 

Oxford is a partner in the centres focusing on digital pathology, led by University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust. Healthcare technology company Philips will be the principal partner on this major cross-sector collaboration, called Project PathLAKE.

This initiative has received £10m of government funding in total to develop innovative AI in pathology. Project PathLAKE partners will embed and demonstrate the diagnostic efficiency of digital pathology, computer-aided testing of pathology samples, and develop novel AI tools to personalised medicine by selecting the right patients for the best therapy.

The project will create a secure data-lake of tens of thousands of professionally annotated images for building deep learning algorithms that can automatically detect cancer. These images and tools will be made available across the consortium including a growing number of SME partners in this sector to develop AI to overcome burgeoning workloads in the UK and establish a world-leading UK digital health industry.

This is a tremendously exciting opportunity for Oxford to build on our programme in computational pathology - Professor Clare Verrill

Professor Verrill says: 'This is a tremendously exciting opportunity for Oxford to build on our programme in computational pathology, which is a novel collaboration between pathology (via NDS and the NHS Cellular Pathology lab at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust) and Jens Rittscher, Professor of Engineering Science of the Big Data Institute. We will be changing the way cellular pathology is delivered in Oxford and across the UK, with deployment of novel digital reporting of live diagnostic cases and building and testing novel AI algorithms into the clinical workflow. We are incredibly proud to be a part of PathLAKE, a digital pathology consortium led by University Hospitals Coventry / The University of Warwick and backed by our industry partner Philips. This is a team effort and we would not have achieved this success without the input of several other key individuals, to name a few Kieron White and the NHS Cellular Pathology team and the Verrill and Rittscher research groups'

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