Chemical engineering student works on AI project to improve cancer diagnosis

Fourth year chemical engineering student Neema Nabavian has been busy since the start of lockdown, working with a healthcare tech start-up on a project to improve cancer diagnosis using artificial intelligence (AI).

Since March, the Covid-19 pandemic has forced the NHS to postpone many healthcare treatments, and cancer referrals in the UK have dropped significantly.[1] Huge challenges lie ahead both for those who have suffered delays in treatment and diagnosis, and for those responsible for clearing the backlog.

Working as part of a Business Development team at YouDiagnose, Neema is seeking to understand the current complications surrounding cancer diagnosis and trying to identify factors which could help the healthcare system to recover from the knock-on effects of Covid-19.

He is investigating areas such as treatment waiting times, rurality and case backlog, to feed into a computer-aided AI programme to help clinicians to:

  • assess each patients risk faster
  • diagnose cancer earlier and more accurately
  • manage cancer care workflow
  • reduce the cost, complexity and delays of unnecessary appointments

Neema is working with healthcare companies such as GSK and Novartis, and publishing healthcare blogs with his findings.

YouDiagnose is currently working with NHS East and North Hertfordshire, NHS Royal Free London, and NHS Royal Surrey in the hope of trialling the technology on a free-of-charge basis before wider implementation.

Neema said: “AI can play a crucial role in cancer diagnosis, by assisting doctors to understand and overcome challenges associated with diagnosis such as rurality, waiting times and case backlog. This technology has the potential to reduce waiting times and make the diagnosis faster, saving lives. 

“Covid-19 has devastated the world and it is crucial that it does not continue to devastate us with secondary deaths. I am committed to achieving positive change by working at the forefront of a project which aims to drive a technology revolution within healthcare. AI has the ability, security and simplicity to provide excellent clinical support to frontline healthcare workers, presenting a solution which will last a generation.”

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Neema Nabavian, fourth year chemical engineering student
Neema Nabavian, fourth year chemical engineering student