Business context

Check4Cancer is an award-winning cancer screening and diagnosis healthcare provider in the UK. The company’s team of cancer specialists has extensive clinical expertise, enabling Check4Cancer to provide services that are trusted by leading UK insurance providers and corporate sector clients. 

Founded in 2014 by Professor Gordon Wishart, the Cambridge based company enables people to take ownership of their health by providing cancer tests and services that are innovative, validated, and effective.


Check4Cancer’s innovative skin cancer screening and diagnostic services are the fastest growing part of the business and both pathways are currently delivered by nurses with telemedicine reporting by skin cancer consultant specialists. Therefore, in order to scale up, the healthcare provider needed to explore the introduction of a digital skin cancer pathway, with an AI skin lesion assessment tool to partly automate reporting, and an App to facilitate skin image capture in remote locations.


Through partnering with the University of Essex, the aim of the project is to speed up diagnosis and treatment of skin cancer for NHS and private patients.

Gordon Wishart
"By working with AI experts in image recognition, machine learning and algorithm development from Essex, we plan to harness both academic excellence and industry expertise to build an AI model that replicates the clinical excellence of our current skin cancer model."
Professor Gordon Wishart  CHief Medical Officer, Check4Cancer

Research solution

The Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) funded by Innovate UK is a collaboration with the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering at Essex, that aims to identify major cost reductions in the assessment of skin cancer across both private and public sector health care. The 24-month project is also supported by a Smart Grant from Innovate UK, that will allow development of the App and commercialisation of the skin cancer model.

The KTP project will develop an AI powered model based on Check4Cancer’s vast bank of more than 70,000 skin lesion images which are all labeled with a wealth of clinical information. Skin lesions are any skin area with different characteristics from the surrounding skin, including colour, shape, or texture, so can be an indicator of various conditions including skin cancer.

By working with Essex AI academics in image recognition, machine learning and algorithm development, Check4Cancer plans to harness both academic excellence and industry expertise to build on its vast bank of skin lesion images and associated clinical data to create an AI model that replicates the clinical excellence of its current clinical skin cancer model. Dr Haider Raza will lead the project with the support of Dr Alba Garcia Seco De Herrera and Professor John Gan.

Business value

The award of over £180,000 funds a data scientist to work full-time on the project for two years. The project will build on the work of the Check4Cancer’s nurse-led skin diagnosis pathway for insured and self-pay patients that tackles long waiting times and helps to avoid unnecessary biopsies and surgical procedures. More than 80% of patients are offered an appointment within five days and only 14% of patients need to be referred on for biopsy or treatment.

This KTP award is in addition to the Innovate UK Smart Grant also awarded to Check4Cancer this year. The UK Smart Grant is supporting the development of a ‘Skin App’ to take high-quality images to assist the assessment of skin lesions. This will be integrated with the company’s Patient Management System and, the funding will also support commercialisation of the digital skin platform.

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Innovate UK funding

Essex has successfully secured more Innovate UK KTP funding than any other university in the East of England or London (and we're number 1 in the UK). You could access around £150k through this program or equally partner with us on a Smart grant and secure up to £3m to work with a consortia on your project. Essex will lead the entire process and have a sector-leading track record at winning this funding. All projects are commercially driven and underpinned by world class research from Essex.

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