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Karnataka Govt Signs MoU with AstraZeneca to Deploy AI-Based Lung Cancer Screening Technology

Written by : Jayati Dubey

October 13, 2023

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To be implemented in 19 district hospitals in Karnataka, this AI-driven chest X-ray system facilitates early detection of lung nodules, enhancing the healthcare system's ability to diagnose cancer at its initial stages.

The Karnataka government has entered a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with AstraZeneca Pharma India to implement AI-based lung cancer screening technology.

This technology, developed by healthtech startup '', is capable of screening a patient for 29 different lung diseases in a single chest X-ray. The primary goal of this initiative is to address a critical early detection challenge by identifying lung nodules, which can be precursors to lung cancer.

The MoU was officially signed by the National Health Mission, Health & Family Welfare Services, representing the Karnataka government. The signing ceremony took place in the presence of Health Minister Dinesh Gundu Rao, who highlighted the significance of early detection in cancer treatment.

He said, "Cancer can be treated with curative intent if detected early. We are bringing this technology to all our district hospitals across Karnataka, and we strongly believe that this will emerge as the most beneficial way of detecting lung cancer early and reducing the financial and emotional burden of healthcare on patients, especially those who cannot afford even primary care."

The incidence of cancer in Karnataka has been steadily increasing, with a 1% annual rise in cases for both men and women, according to a study by the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR).

The study predicts that cancer cases in Karnataka could increase by 90,000 by 2025. In Bengaluru, the most common cancers in men include the lung, stomach, oesophagus, and prostate. For women, the most common cancers are breast, cervix, ovary, and corpus uteri.

This AI-powered chest X-ray system is set to be implemented in 19 district hospitals across Karnataka, enabling the government to improve early detection and diagnosis. By detecting lung nodules early, the healthcare system can significantly enhance its capability to diagnose cancer at an earlier stage.

Dr Sanjeev Panchal, managing director and country president of AstraZeneca India, expressed his gratitude to the Government of Karnataka for the opportunity to partner and serve the healthcare needs of patients at the community level. "This will help incidental detection of nodules earlier, thereby improving early cancer diagnosis to a large extent as we integrate AI-based chest X-ray and low-dose CT at the ground level," he added.

This collaboration aims to step forward in leveraging AI and cutting-edge technology to enhance healthcare and combat the growing challenge of cancer in Karnataka. Early detection, especially in the case of lung cancer, can have a profound impact on patient outcomes, reducing the burden on both individuals and the healthcare system.

In a similar development, the Karnataka Department of Health and Family Welfare recently entered a strategic partnership with the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Platforms (C-CAMP), a deep-tech innovation hub based in Bengaluru, to facilitate the identification, implementation, and integration of innovative health technologies across primary to tertiary healthcare facilities in both urban and rural areas of Karnataka.

According to the state's health department officials, the objective is to strengthen health outreach programs and enhance doorstep healthcare services through innovative field-use technologies, including improved screening and diagnostics.


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