The Precision Medicine Centre of Excellence (PMC) is at the forefront of Digital Pathology development in the UK, with strong evidence of digital pathology delivery on diagnostics, translational research and industry products. Since 2011, the Belfast Digital Pathology Programme has received substantial funding (€3.9m EU Framework, £3.7m CRUK Accelerator on Digital Pathology); developed a successful Digital Pathology open source system (QuPath); created the first Digital Pathology prototype of tissue annotation ahead of molecular testing, TissueMark; generated important validation information on Digital Pathology scoring of biomarkers; and successfully applied Digital Pathology to novel biomarkers of difficult clinical delivery such as PD-L1. The PMC has experience in helping industry to bring new Digital Pathology diagnostics algorithms to the market and, together with our capacity in genomic medicine, represents an unparalleled opportunity to engage in true, integrated analyses to support industry product development, clinical trial endeavours and programmatic research.
The recent award by Innovate UK for the PathLAKE programme is a further success of the PMC. As part of the PathLAKE programme, the PMC will contribute to the development of a national centre of excellence for digital pathology (DP) and artificial intelligence (AI). The PMC will lead on Exemplar projects that aim to develop, evaluate and validate algorithms for increased efficiency in pathological reporting, improved molecular diagnostics and to aid in the identification of patients that would benefit from personalised medicine. Identification of appropriate cases and samples will be key to the success of the project and will be undertaken with support from the Northern Ireland Biobank (NIB). Furthermore, the PMC will contribute to the development of a comprehensive training and education package focused on pathology and AI and aimed a range of participants including, pathologists, computer scientists, other academics and SMEs.