People are living longer than ever before.
However, around 15 million of us in England have a long-term health condition for which the treatment and care accounts for 70 per cent of the NHS budget.
Moreover, each of us is unique. Yet health and care services have tended to use a ‘one size fits all’ approach. This may not be ideal for the individual or cost effective for health and care services.
We want to help people live healthier lives for longer, recognising everyone is individual and that preventing ill health and providing care has to be financially sustainable.
Instead of the more conventional ‘one size fits all’ approach, personalised medicine and health takes a closer look at a person’s unique biology and tailors healthcare to meet their individual needs more effectively.
It harnesses technological and medical advances to better manage people’s health.
It can identify a person’s likelihood of developing a disease.
It identifies the most appropriate, personalised therapies that will prevent, best manage or treat a disease.
How have we helped?
We established the Leeds Centre for Personalised Medicine and Health as a centre of excellence.
It focuses on accelerating the research, evaluation and adoption of new treatments and technologies. This is helping develop a long term solution for Leeds people to benefit from an individually tailored, higher quality and more efficient approach to care.
It harnesses technological and medical advances to enable more informed decision making so that therapies can be carefully targeted for each person.
And because it can identify a person’s likelihood of developing a disease, it means they can better understand and therefore care for themselves and potentially prevent it developing.
The Leeds Centre for Personalised Medicine and Health has:
introduced general practice to the benefits of proteomics – the study of proteins in cells
set up a top recruiting screening trial
introduced a personalised genomic test into prostate clinics
secured Health Data Research UK investment in frailty research
brought global industry to the city
attracted more than £8 million in commercial investment
more than 1,000 citizens taking part in research
15 current studies into preventing disease
linked to five published academic papers.
Case study: Innovation in cancer diagnosis
PinPoint Data Science is a Leeds-based company which has developed a machine learning-based blood test to provide clinicians with a calibrated probability that a person has cancer.
Working in partnership with The University of Leeds and Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, the PinPoint Test aims to bring about a fundamental change in the approach to diagnosis; a future without bottlenecks and waiting lists, where people get the care they need faster and more efficiently.
The NHS ‘Two-Week Wait’ referral pathway guarantees that people with symptoms suggestive of cancer can see a specialist at a hospital within two weeks of referral by their GP.
Since its inception, it has grown at over 10% each year from 1 million people seen in 2010 to 2.4 million in 2020. Of these, only 7% are ultimately found to have cancer, meaning that 93% of patients experience understandable anxiety while they wait for tests and follow-up appointments at a cost of millions of working hours and over £1 billion to the NHS annually.
The PinPoint solution is a simple blood test, run on standard equipment in NHS labs at the point of referral. The PinPoint algorithm aggregates signals from a raft of standard blood markers to provide clinicians with a calibrated probability of cancer.
This represents a new, powerful tool to support clinicians in the process of patient prioritisation; safely ruling those people at least risk out of the urgent referral pathway and ensuring that those people at the greatest risk get the help they need sooner.
At the heart of PinPoint is its world-class team of data scientists led by Chief Scientist, Dr Richard Savage. Supporting them are CEO Giles Tully, Executive Chair Dr Nigel Sansom and COO Dr Rosie Ferguson, who between them bring a wealth of experience at the nexus of academia, business and bringing innovation into the NHS.
They drove the establishment of PinPoint in Leeds due to their understanding of it being both the UK’s premier MedTech hub and the second home of the NHS.
The Leeds Centre for Personalised Medicine and Health (LCPMH) part of the Leeds Academic Health Partnership that sits at the heart of healthtech innovation in the city worked closely with PinPoint during its inception.
LCPMH cancer flagship lead Professor Richard Neal helped to set up and design the initial study and LCPMH continued to support the early stages of PinPoint’s development by helping to navigate partners within the clinical system, and by providing guidance on ethics and regulatory approval .
When the Covid pandemic hit, LCPMH, together with the University of Leeds, helped PinPoint move the test to a comprehensive service evaluation in a real world setting in West Yorkshire and Harrogate.
Dr Liz Mear, Managing Director, Leeds Academic Health Partnership
Subsequently, Liz Mear Managing Director of the LAHP introduced PinPoint to health colleagues in the North West of England to help enable further adoption.
She explains: “The PinPoint test is a game changer in the early detection of cancer and will dramatically reduce the suffering of people awaiting diagnosis and their families.
“We will continue to support PinPoint in any way we can, as the test rolls out across the UK and progresses towards being used within the NHS.”
The PinPoint Test is well and truly ‘Made in Yorkshire’. The company has developed tests for the nine most common cancer pathways, covering over 98 per cent of referrals. It is already being evaluated in a real-world setting within the NHS and will cost less than £50 per test per person. For more information, visit PinPoint at www.pinpointdatascience.com.
See more in our 2021 report: Think big, start small scale fast. Please click here.
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