Artificial intelligence pioneered in Newcastle could result in hundreds more organ transplants taking place

A Newcastle surgeon is leading an artificial intelligence (AI) project to improve organ assessment before life-saving transplants.

Colin Wilson of Newcastle Hospitals NHS Trust is co-leader of a project called OrQA which has just received £1million in funding. OrQA – Organ Quality Assessment – works with similar software as facial recognition to analyze the quality of a donor organ. The Trust operates both the Freeman and the RVI.

This should, doctors hope, improve the number of organs they can use for transplants. It is estimated that use of the technology could enable 200 more kidney transplants and 100 more liver transplants in the UK each year. said: “Until now, as surgeons, we had no help with organ harvesting. This is a really important step for professionals and patients to ensure people get the right transplant as soon as possible.”

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The surgeon explained that the software “rates” the quality of an organ to help doctors understand if it’s healthy enough for transplantation. The new funding comes from the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) and is supported by government ministers.

Professor Jackie Leach Scully from the University of New South Wales, Australia, is also involved in the OrQA project. Prof. Scully actually received a liver transplant in Newcastle. She said: “Like any other transplant patient, I was aware of the chronic shortage of suitable organs and the need to encourage organ donation, but it was only after getting involved in this project that I realized that valuable organs could be wasted because of difficulties.” when assessing their suitability.

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“This has really demonstrated the value of an information delivery tool to support surgeon decision making. I believe it is also important that patients and the general public understand that this system could increase the likelihood that their donated organs will be used successfully and fairly in transplantation.”

Health Secretary Neil O’Brien added: “Technology has the ability to revolutionize the way we take care of people and this cutting-edge technology will improve organ transplant services. Developed here in the UK, this groundbreaking new method could save hundreds of lives and ensure the best use of donor organs.

“I encourage everyone to register their decision to donate organs. Share them with your family so your loved ones can follow your wishes and hopefully save others.”