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6 April, 2020 - 16:16 By Kate Sweeney

Cambridge University at the heart of cancer detection initiative

Cambridge University is at the heart of a new UK collaboration to boost cancer detection through advanced imaging technology.

The initiative integrates cancer imaging biomarker clinical research across the UK.

The UK National Cancer Imaging Translational Accelerator (NCITA) establishes infrastructure for validation and adoption of cancer imaging biomarkers as decision-making tools in clinical trials and NHS practice.

Researchers and medical experts from nine world-leading medical imaging centres across the UK, including Cambridge, have united for the project.

The unique development provides clinical researchers with open access to world-class clinical imaging facilities and expertise, as well a repository data management service, artificial intelligence (AI) tools and ongoing training opportunities.

The NCITA consortium, through engagement with NHS Trusts, pharmaceutical companies, medical imaging and nuclear medicine companies as well as funding bodies and patient groups, aims to develop a robust and sustainable imaging biomarker certification process to revolutionise the speed and accuracy of cancer diagnosis, tumour classification and patient response to treatment.

Professor Evis Sala, Professor of Oncological Imaging in the Department of Radiology at the University of Cambridge, co-leads the Advanced Cancer Imaging Programme.

She said: "We are delighted to be part of NCITA and are co-ordinating a renal cancer imaging study for the network using a novel agent that is being developed in Cambridge.

“We are also establishing a shared image repository which will provide the large volume of data needed to 'train' new AI tools to accurately analyse patient scans in the future.”

The NCITA initiative is funded by Cancer Research UK and will receive up to £10 million over five years. It is keen to expand and bring in new academic and industrial partnerships as it develops.

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