University Hospitals Birmingham (UHB) has partnered with medical technology company Qureight to build more diverse AI models that accurately reflect societies; The world’s premier lung disease research partnership. This will help ensure that patients from ethnic minority backgrounds receive better tailored and effective treatments.
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a type of complex lung disease that affects approximately 50 in 100,000 people. It causes scarring of the lungs, resulting in severe shortness of breath and coughing, and due to a lack of effective medicines and treatments, the survival time is currently worse than most types of cancer.
The application of cutting-edge AI tools, to unlock insights from existing IPF patient data, could help extend the lives of thousands of patients in the UK each year. However, current research data does not always reflect the true composition of societies in Britain.
Birmingham’s diverse population will now provide scientists at Qureight with more diverse data than is normally available, enabling the construction of AI diagnostic models that better reflect population diversity.
Birmingham is one of the first ultra-diverse cities in the UK according to the most recent census, meaning the majority of its residents come from black, Asian or minority ethnic backgrounds.
This is extremely important for the city’s clinical teams and lung disease researchers, who will use the lung survey data to build on the currently lacking understanding of how complex lung diseases emerge and progress in these specific communities.
The project aims to accelerate the development of lung disease treatments to improve outcomes for all patients. This is the first time that large amounts of data from ethnic minorities have been structured and made available for complex lung disease research and drug development.
Inflammatory lung diseases and complex scarring can be difficult to control; It can be difficult to determine whether the disease is responding to treatment, is stable, or is getting worse.
It is currently necessary for specialist radiologists to analyze CT images of the lungs, as part of the diagnostic and monitoring process. The process is open to interpretation bias and therefore the outcome may not always be the same.
In addition, the shortage of these specialists makes this process slow and difficult. At the same time, the limited data we have come mostly from white European patients, who may present with lung disease in a certain way.
The launch of this partnership with Qureight is a very important moment for our team. Allowing access to patient data, which truly reflects the unique diversity of Birmingham’s population, will be invaluable to planning and delivering fairer care to patients – not just in cities like ours.”
Dr Anjali Koracho, Consultant Respiratory Medicine, University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust.
Created by their own team of lung experts, Qureight’s AI will combine data from patient exams (such as lung volume and airway) with lung function data from tests, blood results, and demographic records. This information will be processed securely and anonymously to provide insights into the presentation, progression, and progression of complex lung conditions.
Our partnership with UHB will be pivotal in how we harness the world’s leading AI solutions, to benefit patients with various complex lung diseases.
One of the biggest problems with AI in healthcare is its inapplicability to real-world patients. Qureight is already using AI in complex lung disease clinical trials in Europe and the USA, but having more patients is the key to its success in the future.
Working in partnership with world-renowned researchers at UHB, we will be able to draw on their clinical expertise to achieve breakthrough medical advances and help rebalance inequalities in our understanding of rare and complex lung diseases through the use of the latest AI technology. “
Dr. Muhunthan Thillai, Consultant Thoracic Physician, CEO and Co-Founder, Qureight.