Guy’s and St Thomas’ is trialling a new system applying artificial intelligence to match patients with early phase clinical trials.

It is hoped that the system will increase participation in trials, by making it easier for patients to join trials that are appropriate to their age and condition.

The Trust is looking to evaluate how new software called Trial Navigator™ within the Cancer Early Phase Trials Unit. The evaluation is a partnership between the Trust, King’s Health Partners ECMC and the company Inspirata.

The evaluation is part of a wider project to look at how artificial intelligence and automation can help recruit cancer patients to clinical trials. At present, patients may be recruited to trials as a result of suggestions by their clinicians, or because they have sought out information about trials for their cancer. Using AI methods could make it easier to deliver tailored information about the full range of trials that a patient might be eligible for.

Danny Ruta, Clinical Artificial Intelligence Lead, Guy’s and St Thomas’, said: “At  the Cancer Centre at Guy’s, we’re constantly striving to get the best possible outcomes for our patients, and sometimes that means providing them with the opportunity to enrol on trials of new cancer drugs when conventional treatments have been unsuccessful. AI technology offers the potential to better match our patients to available trials, but we need to evaluate them first to prove that they can deliver on their promise.

“We hope that the intelligent automation afforded by Trial Navigator will prove to be an effective solution for identifying greater numbers of our eligible cancer patient population for clinical trials.”

Dr Debashis Sarker, Reader in Experimental Oncology in the School of Cancer and Pharmaceutical Studies of King’s College London, and Honorary Consultant in Medical Oncology at Guy’s and St Thomas’ said: “Our patients are looking to us for assurances that all possible options and avenues associated with their care have been thoroughly evaluated.

“I am hugely attracted to any toolset which serves to augment my own understanding of the different trial options available so that I can impart this confidence and where applicable, see more patients obtain prompt access to potential new treatments in a more timely manner.”

Michelle Mitchell, Chief Executive of Cancer Research UK, which co-funds the ECMC network, said: “Digital technology will play a key role in ensuring that the UK remains one of the best places in the world to conduct experimental cancer medicine studies, so that our UK patients get access to novel therapies at the earliest opportunity. We are excited to support a project that seeks to aid clinicians in the complex and time-consuming task of matching patients to suitable trials.”

Oenone Duroe, General Manager at Inspirata Europe said: “We could not be more excited nor proud to work with Guy’s and St Thomas’, Kings Health Partners and ECMC on this project.

“We look forward to collaborating closely with the team to validate the efficacy of AI in a clinical trial matching context, and by drawing on insights derived, support equivalent Trial Navigator engagements within the National Health Service.”