The NHS will be one of the beneficiaries of new investment after Rishi Sunak announced a £100m pot to accelerate innovative AI solutions for the treatment of previously incurable diseases.
The investment will help drive forward work to tackle some of the conditions with the highest mortality and morbidity, including everything from cancer to dementia.
The government highlights the potential for the health sector to use the funding to further harness the UK’s health data to swiftly identify those most at risk of dementia and thus ensure they are directed to the right clinical trials at the right time.
AI could also be deployed to battle mental ill health, with innovations already being used to direct patients through preventative routines and escalating to a human therapist when necessary.
The next 18 months will see investment into the areas of the UK where the clinical need is the greatest. The government has also indicated that mental health research will be transformed through developing first-class data infrastructure.
A new £100m fund will accelerate the use of AI to tackle the biggest health challenges of our generation.— Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (@SciTechgovuk) October 29, 2023
The investment will focus on areas where it can have the greatest impact on health, making breakthroughs in areas from diagnosis to drug development.https://t.co/RbgbsOgUpv pic.twitter.com/TEJcOqPCpu
The prime minister said: “AI can help us solve some of the greatest social challenges of our time. AI could help find novel dementia treatments or develop vaccines for cancer.
“That’s why today we’re investing a further £100 million to accelerate the use of AI on the most transformational breakthroughs in treatments for previously incurable diseases.”
The government wants to bring industry together with clinicians and academia to develop and deliver innovative solutions – whether that be targeted treatments for certain diseases or general purpose applications that alleviate service pressures.
“This new accelerator fund will help us build on our efforts to harness the latest technology to unlock progress and drive economic growth,” commented the health secretary, Steve Barclay.
The news comes as the UK gears up to host the world’s first AI safety summit at Bletchley Park this week, where international thought leaders will convene to discuss the risks associated with AI and how they can be mitigated.
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