XTX Ventures, a London based venture capital firm with expertise in machine learning and financial technology, has invested in a start-up that is developing a new technology that may be able to detect and diagnose cancer, with an initial focus on prostate cancer, very early in its development.
More than a million men worldwide are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year. The fatality count from this cause is 375,000.
At present, screening for prostate cancer typically involves looking for prostate specific antigens (PSAs) in the blood. The chance of a higher PSA count goes up in the event of cancer, but there is no cut-off point that triggers an affirmative diagnosis. Diagnosis depends on intrusive biopsies.
MRI images are also used as a screening technique, but at present they rely on labor-intensive analysis, human eyes pouring over the images looking for lesions, and they are subject to human error.
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The start-up, Lucinda Medical, is using artificial intelligence to analyze MRI images, lessening the reliance on trained human eyes and the danger of error. Lucinda made a presentation to the European Congress of Radiology in March 2021. The XTX investment is part of a growing trend, the movement of VC money into medical research.