Edinburgh Imaging

09 Aug 21. Aidence & AstraZeneca AI collaboration

A new collaboration between Aidence & AstraZeneca supports early lung cancer diagnosis using AI, with Edinburgh Imaging’s Professor Edwin van Beek as a member of the Steering Committee.

Aidence announced a new strategic collaboration with global biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca. This collaboration will provide Aidence’s AI solutions to hospitals across Europe to enable & increase early lung cancer diagnosis through better detection & follow-up of incidental pulmonary nodules (IPNs). The earlier healthcare providers can detect lung cancer, the greater the opportunity to cure patients.


Incidental pulmonary nodules

IPNs are abnormal growths in the lungs found on imaging scans taken while investigating or diagnosing another health condition. The majority of IPNs are benign, but some are cancerous & can be overlooked, misinterpreted, or not appropriately followed up for further testing. Approximately 20-30% of lung computed tomography (CT) scans will find incidental nodules.

Better identification & appropriate follow-up of IPNs are necessary steps towards increasing the diagnosis of lung cancer at early stages. However, rates of follow-up are persistently low for these patients. One recent study found that only 36% of patients in the US with an identified IPN received any subsequent follow-up.


Prof Edwin Van Beek, radiologist at the University of Edinburgh & member of the Steering Committee, explains:

Incidental pulmonary nodules are a major contributor to medical procedures. Although the majority will not be cancerous, sufficient numbers of patients will have cancer detected in this way. A uniform approach & better characterisation of these nodules is vital for patients as well as for the economic use of healthcare.


Aidence’s AI

Aidence has been handpicked for this project following the company’s track record of successful AI deployments. Aidence’s Veye Lung Nodules is running in routine practice & lung cancer screening across Europe, analysing thousands of scans each week. Veye automatically detects, measures, classifies & tracks the growth of pulmonary nodules as small as 3 mm.

In addition to providing benefits for patients, Veye Lung Nodules can improve efficiency & quality of care by enabling faster detection, reporting information, reducing unnecessary follow-ups & acting as a ‘second pair of eyes’ for radiologists. All of these benefits are associated with potential cost savings.

Aidence is also developing an application that facilitates guideline-based follow-up for patients with identified IPNs based on established clinical guidelines to ensure timely diagnosis & treatment.


The IPN-AI project

AstraZeneca will fund a pilot phase of implementing Aidence’s solutions in 2021 before expanding to a planned 25-30 European hospitals next year.

An external Steering Committee will support the collaboration. This includes developing a protocol to optimise the early lung cancer detection pathway through collaboration with scientific societies, establishing lung nodule clinics, supporting improved patient communication for follow-up, & educating healthcare practitioners & patients.


Prof Joachim Aerts, pulmonologist at Erasmus MC Rotterdam, Board Member at The International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC), & chair of the Steering Committee, said:

The potential of AI to detect nodules & support clinical teams in determining the probability of cancer could help to save lives & to work more effectively. Alongside funding the implementation of this technology, a dedicated Steering Committee will develop a protocol to change behaviour & optimise the lung cancer care pathway, working closely with the radiology community. I am pleased to chair this project together with Prof Giorgio Scagliotti from the University of Turin.


Jeroen van Duffelen, Aidence co-founder & Chief Business Officer, added:

In partnership with AstraZeneca, we will deliver a one of a kind project implementing AI in clinical practice at scale, aiming to screen roughly 450.000 patients for early-stage lung cancer. In doing so, we will both demonstrate AI’s impact on early lung cancer detection & give many patients a fighting chance.

We believe AI-enabled oncology pathways can transform cancer care & are enthusiastic to team up with a leading pharma company who shares our ambitions.


Data collection on the number of actionable nodules found, lung cancer diagnoses, & the stage of disease at diagnosis will be crucial to determine the success of the project. The Steering Committee will gather, review & publish aggregated data periodically, to assess the impact of the software & act on initial learnings.


This news item is copied from the press release on the Aidence website, please view this here.
Please find the press release on the AstraZeneca website, here.



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A new collaboration between Aidence & AstraZeneca supports early lung cancer diagnosis using AI, with Edinburgh Imaging’s Professor Edwin van Beek as a member of the Steering Committee.

@AstraZeneca @AidenceVeye