The PinPoint Test uses a newly developed computer software using artificial intelligence to look at features in the blood. It is currently being piloted in the NHS.

This simple blood test utilises an algorithm using machine learning to generate a probability that a patient has cancer. It gives clinicians a tool with which to more accurately triage and prioritise patients, identifying those patients most at risk so that they are able to access the facilities they need sooner.

The PinPoint Test is already in real-world evaluation in the NHS, being run by the West Yorkshire & Harrogate Cancer Alliance. Testing for the service evaluation was initially launched by Mid-Yorks Hospitals Trust and later by Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust. Mid Yorks Trust is also host to all laboratory analysis of blood tests taken for the PinPoint Test evaluation.

The test developers believe that widespread use of Pinpoint would streamline diagnostic capacity and reduce waiting times, improving patient experience and allowing doctors to more accurately triage and prioritise patients by clinical need, thereby improving the early detection of cancer.

In Cheshire and Merseyside we are exploring how the PinPoint test can be integrated into existing laboratory systems. At this stage, PinPoint will not be used for decision making.

The diagnostic test was developed using data taken from hundreds of thousands of patients investigated for cancer between 2011 and 2019. It uses machine learning, a branch of artificial intelligence, to measure 33 biomarkers in the blood sample. This information is combined with other data, such as age and gender, to generate a single number – the chance that an individual has cancer.

Using the PinPoint Test in the earliest stages of clinical investigations means that doctors will be able to determine within 72 hours how likely it is a patient has cancer and either prioritise them for hospital testing or rule them out of the cancer pathway entirely.

CMCA Managing Director Jon Hayes has welcomed the creation of a pilot for the Pinpoint Test in St Helens, which is currently being established.

Jon said: “It is an NHS priority to fast-track high quality cancer innovations. The PinPoint Test is already being evaluated in West Yorkshire where the health service and industry have worked very effectively together. We’re looking forward to making sure the benefits of the test are felt in our area.”

While GPs around the country refer thousands of patients for urgent cancer tests every day, only around seven per cent turn out to have cancer.

Jon added: “This new tool for intelligent triage will allow us to safely remove patients from those urgent referral pathways, reducing backlogs and allowing high-risk patients to access the specialists and facilities they need sooner.”

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