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Our research

We are implementing a new clinical system in Greater Manchester to identify patients at risk of liver disease.

By integrating clinical data with artificial intelligence and data science, we can identify people at risk of progressive liver disease earlier, in their local community. These people would previously have attended hospital for diagnosis, often too late for preventative or curative treatment.

About the patient study

Patients at risk of liver disease will be referred to Liver Assessment Clinics to receive ‘liver health checks’ as part of routine clinical care. The results of these investigations will be discussed by clinicians at a virtual liver disease meeting. A diagnosis will be made and patients informed.

Before patients attend their appointment at the Liver Assessment Clinic, they will be offered enrolment into the research study, which includes additional tests, such as investigating blood biomarkers of patients with liver disease that match with levels of scarring in the liver.

A biomarker is any biological molecule that can be measured to show a normal or abnormal process within the body. Blood samples from patients who consent to take part in the ID LIVER study will be used to help us understand the biomarkers we believe may aid the diagnosis of liver disease in the future.

Detecting liver scarring

At the clinics, we also use a specialist ultrasound called FibroScan® as part of routine clinical care to look at the ‘stiffness’ of the liver, which can indicate if there is any scarring.

During the test, a doctor or nurse places the machine’s probe on the outside of the skin over where the liver is. It is a simple and painless procedure and results are instant.

Patients who decide not to volunteer in the study will not have any data used as part of the study and will continue along the routine care pathway.

Our technology

We are co-developing a clinical decision tool to help care teams decide on the optimal treatment for patients. Existing data collected by our partners in Nottingham will be combined with new data being collected in Manchester and used to develop, train and validate an algorithm.

This algorithm, created by Jiva.ai, will calculate a patient’s risk of progressive liver disease. It will feed into a clinical decision platform developed by global industrial partners Roche Diagnostics and GE Healthcare, and help clinicians make faster decisions with greater confidence.

Perspectum’s magnetic resonance imaging technology, LiverMultiScan, which looks at liver tissue characteristics, will also be integrated into the clinical decision platform.

The platform will integrate a variety of diagnostic tests and anonymised patient information with data science approaches and display information in a single holistic dashboard for care teams to review.

We believe that by doing so, we may be able to spot patterns of liver disease much earlier than before, and fundamentally change the way clinicians assess their patients’ liver health.

Why Manchester?

Greater Manchester has one of the UK’s highest rates of liver disease and is home to Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT), located on the largest clinical academic campus in Europe and in the heart of the Innovation District.

This allows for extensive collaboration between experts from the NHS, academia and industry, and makes Manchester ideal for developing innovative solutions for the early diagnosis of liver disease.

The project is also supported by Greater Manchester’s Academic Health Science Network (Health Innovation Manchester), which will drive clinical innovation and support the route to NHS adoption of the new diagnostic approaches.