GLASGOW, UK – OracleBio, a leading provider of digital pathology services, will collaborate with the University of Glasgow, NHS, BioClavis and Canon Medical on a project to develop a precision diagnostic tool to transform bowel cancer screening in the UK. The INCISE (Integrated Technologies for Improved Polyp Surveillance) project will utilise a combination of genomic and digital pathology data to predict patients likely to develop pre-cancerous polyps, enabling early detection of Colorectal Cancer (CRC). The project has been awarded £2.3M government funding provided through UK Research and Innovation’s industrial strategy challenge fund with a further £1.1M provided by the project partners.
Colorectal cancer is one of the most common cancers diagnosed in the UK. In Scotland, all adults aged 50-74 are invited for screening every two years through the Scottish Bowel Screening Program (SBoSP), which aims to improve treatment outcomes by identifying cancer at an early stage and to prevent cancer by identifying and removing pre-cancerous polyps. Of those who undergo screening, around 1 in 20 are found to have cancer and roughly one third are found to have one polyp or more. Around 50% of patients who have polyps removed go on to develop further polyps, so almost all patients are invited back for repeat colonoscopies. These procedures incur considerable costs for the NHS, can be unpleasant for the patient and come with a small but significant risk.
Previous research by a group at Aberdeen University suggests that the polyp immune microenvironment is linked to polyp dysplasia and the risk of progression. The purpose of the INCISE project is to use genomic and digital pathology techniques to identify features in the polyp immune microenvironment that could enable physicians to predict which patients are likely to develop further polyps and progress to CRC. This would reduce the number of unnecessary colonoscopies, thereby reducing cost to NHS and any burden to low-risk patients.
OracleBio will use state of the art digital pathology software to analyse polyp tissue to identify features that are associated with polyp recurrence and progression to CRC. The team will develop machine learning and deep learning algorithms to quantify immune cells on H&E and IHC stained tissue sections from 3500 patients.
BioClavis, a Glasgow based personalised diagnostics company, will use genomic technology to analyse DNA extracted from remaining polyp tissue to identify genomic features associated with polyp recurrence and progression to CRC. The data generated by OracleBio and BioClavis will be analysed by bioinformaticians at the University of Glasgow. Canon Medical will then combine these results to develop a ‘clinical cockpit’ – a digital tool that uses artificial intelligence to collate patient data to better inform treatment decisions.
The combination of these techniques will allow for earlier detection of patients most likely to develop CRC in the future, thereby improving patient outcomes and ultimately reducing CRC related mortality in Scotland.
OracleBio’s Chief Operations Officer, John Waller, commented:
‘We are excited to combine our advanced digital pathology capabilities with the significant expertise of our partners. Using quantitative image analysis to improve the lives of patients is important to OracleBio.’
About UK Research & Innovation
UK Research and Innovation works in partnership with universities, research organisations, businesses, charities, and government to create the best possible environment for research and innovation to flourish. We aim to maximise the contribution of each of our component parts, working individually and collectively. We work with our many partners to benefit everyone through knowledge, talent and ideas. Operating across the whole of the UK with a combined budget of more than £7 billion, UK Research and Innovation brings together the seven research councils, Innovate UK and Research England. www.ukri.org
OracleBio is a leading provider of quantitative digital pathology services to support pre-clinical and clinical Pharmaceutical R&D. Using industry leading image analysis software platforms, the company delivers accurate and detailed quantification of single and multiplex IHC, IF and ISH marker staining allowing for improved decision making within R&D.
Founded in 2011 and based in the UK, OracleBio has a strong immuno-oncology focus with extensive experience in the quantification of immune cell interactions within the tumour microenvironment.