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The PinPoint Test: harnessing the power of AI in cancer diagnostics

Posted: - 12th January 2023

A new cancer diagnostic test using AI will help to optimise NHS urgent cancer referral pathways. The PinPoint Test uses an innovative new kind of computer software called ‘machine learning’ to analyse a broad range of signals in the blood and combine these with general, anonymised patient information to produce a single number: the chance that a patient has cancer.

PinPoint Data Science is a Leeds-based SME who have developed a game-changing AI-driven blood test for cancer, designed to optimise NHS ‘two week wait’ urgent referral pathways.  Professor Peter Johnson, National Clinical Director for Cancer at NHS England, recently identified PinPoint as a pipeline innovation that supports the NHS Long Term Plan’s ambitions in primary care.

The concept for the test was developed in collaboration with academics at the University of Leeds and clinicians at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust with support from Yorkshire & Humber AHSN who also supported the scoping of an implementation trial with the West Yorkshire Cancer Alliance.

Benefits of the PinPoint Test

The test is designed as a decision support tool to provide doctors with the information they need to more effectively triage patients when they first present with symptoms. By flagging patients at either end of the scale, the PinPoint Test will allow those at highest risk to be prioritised for faster access to hospital care and those at minimal risk to be ruled out of urgent referral pathways altogether.

The test promises to deliver shorter referral waiting times, reduced patient anxiety and improved early cancer detection.

The PinPoint Test is now fully-regulated and CE marked for use in the NHS in the nine main cancer groups: Breast, Gynaecological, Haematological, Head & Neck, Lower GI, Lung, Skin, Upper GI & Urological. These nine pathways cover over 98% of all ‘two week wait’ referrals.

What next?

At present PinPoint is in an evaluation stage having received NHS England investment of £1m to accelerate progress. As a result of this injection of funding, GPs onboarding in West Yorkshire have tripled and the Yorkshire & Humber AHSN is supporting this activity to help maintain momentum. Once the evaluation is completed and data is available to demonstrate the effectiveness of the test, this innovation will be strongly placed to spread into other parts of the NHS.

In partnership with the NHS England, the West Yorkshire Cancer Alliance and the Yorkshire & Humber AHSN, following retrospective testing, PinPoint are at a real-world evaluation stage.

Yorkshire & Humber AHSN is working with Pinpoint and the West Yorkshire Cancer Alliance to onboard as many surgeries across West Yorkshire as possible with the objective to offer the Pinpoint test to all patients referred on to a ‘two week wait’ pathway.

Find out more about PinPoint