Austrian government supports new cancer screening solution that uses AI and blockchain for 90% accuracy
The Austrian Government will support UK startup Lancor Scientific to open a cancer research laboratory in Graz, Styria, that aims to push for 90% accuracy for cancer screening.
The research facility will explore the market viability and roll-out of Lancor Scientific’s patented Tumour Trace OMIS (Opto-magnetic Imaging Spectroscopy) device and the utilisation of AI and blockchain technologies, with the aim of delivering accurate, low-cost and near real-time cancer screening at scale.
Last month, Google announced that its AI tool, called Lymph Node Assistant (LYNA), could detect late stage breast cancer at more than 90% accuracy. UK-based Lancor Scientific has developed a device that is able to early detect cervical cancer at 90% accuracy, and can further screen for multiple types of cancers.
Lancor Scientific’s device detects the change of electromagnetism within tissue on quantum levels. It has already conducted successful trials with the NHS in the UK, improving upon the current accuracy of 60% - 70% for cervical cancer screening tests by pathologists.
The new laboratory will open in partnership with the Technical University of Graz, the Medical University of Graz and the Sigmund Freud University Vienna, to lead trials on cancer screening at a global level. Lancor Scientific will receive grants over the first five years from the Austrian Government for facilities including office, research equipment, access to academic expertise and clinical trials management.
The device will go to market in 2019 and a minimum of 10,000 devices will be produced in the next five years.
According to the World Economic Forum, 10% of global GDP will be processed using blockchain technology by 2025. Bitcoin Austria has been unprecedented, becoming the first association to promote cryptocurrencies at national level in 2011.
This year, Austria’s Ministry of Economy committed to a “9 point plan” to support blockchain technology. It includes the creation of the Austria Blockchain Cluster (ABC) cluster and aims to provide sandboxes that will enable startups to test nascent blockchain technologies, protecting entrepreneurs from regulatory and tax implications.
The Austrian Minister of Economic Affairs, Margarete Schramböck, said:
“Blockchain is definitely one of the new important technologies. In addition to Artificial Intelligence and Speech Recognition, it is one of the big issues we want to highlight in the coming period of the EU Presidency. ”
Friedrich Schmidl, Life Sciences Director at the Austrian Business Agency said that the agency was glad to support on a governmental level Lancor Scientific’s “innovative technology as quantum spectroscopy combined with blockchain technology and artificial intelligence paired in one medical device.” The Austrian Business Agency is owned by the Republic of Austria and operated by the Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs.
“Lancor Scientific is a company with a clear vision to face the burden of cancer and provides a cutting-edge technological device for cancer screening,” said Schmidl.
Cancer screening involves various tests for the early detection of abnormal cells in different parts of the body. Finding cancer early improves the chances for successful treatment and saves lives.
Lancor Scientific’s Tumour Trace device is currently CE marked for cervical cancer, which it screens at 90% accuracy, compared to the current accuracy of 60% - 70% for Pap tests. It has conducted trials at Southend University Hospital NHS, and using AI, the new laboratory will remove the biological ‘noise’ (i.e. mucus) from samples, pushing for even further accuracy.
The device weighs a portable 5kg and is designed for ease of operation. The cost of a Pap test is approximately £30 plus lab processing costs. Lancor Scientific will be able to do the same in near real-time (less than two minutes) at £5-10 per test. This low operational cost and device portability makes it a feasible option for the developing world.
Lancor Scientific is creating a blockchain based registry to securely host patient data. Its ERC20 “Medici” token validates the OMIS device and automatically records screening results on the blockchain, via smart contracts. The creation of a cancer research lab in Graz will not only bring scientific benefits to Lancor Scientific but will add to its reputational capital.
Aamir Butt, CEO of Lancor Scientific, commented:
“Finding cancer early is key to saving lives. Lancor Scientific has dedicated itself to making accurate and cost effective cancer detection technology available globally. The vote of confidence from the Austrian government as well the partnership with experts at Graz Technical University allows us to continue that journey and provide a minimum of 10,000 devices within the next five years free of capital charge, with the capability of conducting 500,000 cancer tests per day. This is what we mean by making cancer screening available for everyone, everywhere.”
This year has seen national governments exploring the benefits of blockchain technology. Graz is the capital of Styria and the second largest city in Austria. The region has a virtually unparalleled commitment to research and development.
Dr Johann Harer, the chief executive of the Human.technology Styria cluster, said:
“With 5.2% of its GDP for research and development, Styria is the No. 1 region in Europe in this area. This is all thanks to an excellent scientific and industrial environment and the close collaboration between companies, universities, research institutes and political decision makers. In particular, life sciences (MedTech, pharma & biotech) have been a key strength in the Styrian economy for many years.”
The Human.technology Styria Cluster (HTS) ensures that synergies are well-used in life sciences and that companies benefit both from one another and from their partnerships with science. It is an association of more than 110 economic and scientific members.
“As business angels, network experts and strategic thinkers, we work to enrich the business of our strategic partners,” continued Dr Johann Harer. “HTS is supporting Lancor Scientific and its cutting-edge technology, not only financially – we provide a well-positioned and well-established economic and political network to extend and develop their vision on Cancer Screening for everyone everywhere.”
All grants received by the Austrian Government will not affect current Lancor Scientific intellectual property (IP) rights and for any research conducted within Austria, the IP will stay in Lancor Scientific’s hands.
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