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AI-powered body scans to improve type 2 diabetes diagnosis

Posted April 15, 2019

The University of Liverpool is a collaborator on a new project that’s set to develop technology to improve the diagnosis and monitoring of type 2 diabetes.

An Innovate UK grant awarded to Perspectum Diagnostics will fund the development of specialised MRI across the body, powered by artificial intelligence, to assess the health of multiple internal organs, including the liver, kidneys, pancreas, spleen and aorta, in patients with type 2 diabetes. Combining these biomarkers into a medical device will support clinical management based on a single, cost-effective MRI scan.

Multi-organ scan. Image credit: University of Liverpool

Multi-organ scan. Image credit: University of Liverpool

The project aims to provide disease stratification, improve patient compliance, reduce NHS costs, and enable precision treatment.

Diabetes is a global pandemic, of increasing prevalence. Affecting multiple organs, the disease can currently only be treated through complex clinical management – and diagnosis is difficult. At present, care for diabetic patients is based on routine biochemical tests that independently monitor glycaemic control, cardiovascular (CV) risk, chronic kidney disease (CKD) and liver health. In order to tailor effective treatment, diagnosis must account for the presence or absence of multi-organ complications.

Professor Dan Cuthbertson, a researcher at the Institute of Ageing and Chronic Disease and a Consultant Diabeteologist at Aintree University Hospital, who is leading the Liverpool component of the project, commented: “The prevalence of obesity and type 2 diabetes is increasing at an alarming rate, and with it the rate of associated liver and cardiovascular complications. Screening for these liver and cardiovascular complications is still sub-optimal and this multi-organ assessment in diagnosis and treatment of type 2 diabetes allows us to better understand the prevalence and progression of disease as well as the impact of different treatments. It hopefully will lead to better treatment stratification.”

The University of Liverpool is a knowledge leader in healthcare technologiesand as part of the interdisciplinary research theme Starting Well, Living Well, Ageing Well, aims to reduce the increasing burden of adult chronic disease and ensure ageing resilience. The University is involved in various research initiatives funded through Innovate UK as part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Funddelivered by UKRI.

Source: University of Liverpool

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