Government announces major new early detection programme

5 December 2018        

Category: Research

a stylised picture showing a circuit board in the shape of a human head representing the idea of artificial intelligence

The Office for Life Sciences, which is part of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has announced a major new programme which aims to detect diseases earlier. 

The programme, called Accelerating Detection of Disease, will be led by Professor Sir John Bell and brings together the NHS, industry and charities, including the British Heart Foundation. 

The programme will study 5 million healthy people and will develop new diagnostic tests using artificial intelligence. It will be the largest ever study of its kind, collecting a range of data over a number of years.

Researchers will study how the group’s health changes over time, identifying common characteristics to understand how and why diseases develop. The aim is to empower people to understand their risk of developing diseases, and take action to remain healthy for longer. 

The programme forms part of the second Life Sciences Sector Deal, which was announced jointly by Business Secretary Greg Clark and Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock this morning.

Exciting development

Commenting on the launch of the Accelerating Detection of Disease programme announced on Wednesday, our medical director Professor Sir Nilesh Samani, said:

“This is an immensely exciting development which will provide invaluable insight for research into heart and circulatory diseases in the years to come. 

“There are many examples in heart and circulatory disease where early detection is beneficial, ranging from the use of genomic medicine all the way through to cardiac imaging, so that people at risk are identified at an earlier stage, and are given preventative treatment.

“This major new programme also seeks to harness the power of artificial intelligence, which in research we are currently funding is already showing the promise of this approach. This scale of commitment will ensure the UK continues to be a global leader in making scientific discoveries that meet some of the great health challenges we face.”

Read more about the Life Sciences Sector Deal