1. Medtech development: call for expertise and mentoring

    Do you have experience in medtech development? Can you offer industry mentoring to our researchers to further their projects?

    Grow MedTech is calling for expertise to provide development and mentoring support for our projects.

    Our Executive and Innovation Management groups have identified a number of projects that could benefit from specialist input in one of two ways:

    A. Medtech consultancy – to address key questions and provide support for projects including developing a commercialisation strategy and next steps

    B. Industry mentoring –  to critically evaluate and provide support for projects including developing a commercialisation strategy and next steps. This will compliment skills and expertise in the technology management team and will build long term relationships between the project team and industry mentor.

    We have directly funded more than 100 technology development projects from a pool of over 250 identified opportunities, providing specific and directed translational support to bridge the gap between fundamental research and industry investment. As the programme enters the final six months, we are focussing on progressing selected projects downstream, strengthening their commercialisation roadmaps and strategy in order to build confidence for further investment.

    Download full briefs, including project summaries:

    Medtech consultancy brief (opens PDF)

    Support and mentoring brief (opens PDF)

    Quotes should be submitted by 12pm Friday 5 February. We expect competitive rates to be negotiated for distinct packages of work. If you have any questions or require further information, please contact: Danielle Miles, Grow MedTech Programme lead.

  2. AIMday: Grow MedTech Diagnostics – a review

    This event was coordinated by Joe Drake, Technology Innovation Officer for Grow MedTech, and Mohua Siddique, Innovation Development Officer for Translate MedTech. In this blog, Mohua recaps on the outcomes of the day:

    On 10 December 2020, Grow MedTech and Translate MedTech, in partnership with NIHR Leeds Diagnostics Co-operative ran AIMday: Grow MedTech Diagnostics, a day to discuss pressing diagnostic research and development needs, create or strengthen collaborations, and develop new diagnostic technology projects that can be further supported by Grow MedTech and funding bodies. 

    We had a fantastic response from our community of companies from within the region and internationally, submitting 23 questions in total.  Seven questions were then selected to be answered by our engaged network of academics and clinicians across the Grow MedTech and Translate partnership. Selected questions ranged from how to use AI technologies to determine immunotherapy treatment responses, to developing cost effective methods to detect drug levels in serum.  

    On the day we had 58 participants take part in seven question sessions, including company representatives, academics, clinicians and knowledge exchange professionals. We adapted the AIMday format so we could hold the event virtually and we are the first to do this.

    The selected questions ran as one-hour workshop sessions using a video conferencing platform, with facilitation from Grow MedTech Technology Innovation Managers. Company representatives introduced their question and set the scene, allowing for academics to propose innovative solutions and explore industry needs in detail. As the sessions came to a close, Technology Innovation Managers identified a number of next steps to continue progressing the conversations towards a solution, including identifying funding streams and strengthening the newly formed collaborations.

    Feedback for the event was resoundingly positive, with an emphasis on the importance of events like AIMDay to strengthen links between academia and industry. ”[It’s] rare for industry to have a platform to present novel concepts to academics. The meeting also provided the academics with access to something they really need.”

    About AIMday

    AIMday is an opportunity for academics and organisations to make contacts and exchange knowledge. It is simply the idea that a broad mix of academics can provide different perspectives and surprising new avenues to solving real-world problems – and to create favourable conditions for continued cooperation between academia and non-academic organisations. Developed by Uppsala University in 2008, the AIMday concept has been embraced by several leading universities in Sweden and other parts of the world.

  3. A Christmas message from the Grow MedTech team

    As we approach the festive period, most of us are preparing for a well-deserved rest with family and friends.  For us, it’s also a good time to take stock of the year gone by, getting ready to start fresh initiatives for the New Year.

    This year saw Grow MedTech achieve numerous – sometimes unexpected – milestones. COVID19 presented our programmes – as it did with most businesses – with numerous challenges, that thanks to our adaptive team and community, we have continued to deliver against targets successfully and support the fight against the virus.

    Our innovation development programme, Translate MedTech, successfully moved entirely online from March, running 4 courses (plus 2 in person pre-COVID), brokering 6 secondments and supporting two hackathons virtually through Zoom and other digital platforms.

    Grow MedTech has continued to run medtech translation funding calls, and our team of Technology Innovation Managers have supported projects whilst working from home. Since the launch of the programme, we have supported 231 total projects, 98 of which are funded by us.  The commitment from research staff to maintain their projects has not gone unnoticed and this year has testified the persistence of our innovation community.   

    Bringing together new collaborations between academia, business and NHS partners will always be at the heart of what we do. We are proud to have brought together 159 new collaborations in total, and this has of course challenged us more under the circumstances of last year.  We hosted an in-person MSK workshop in February, and later successfully moved our workshops online to deliver our AIMday (Academic Industry Meeting day) in diagnostics event, both in partnership with NIHR Leeds In Vitro Diagnostics Co-operative, and Translate. 

    Being shortlisted for a Collaborate to Innovate Award from The Engineer was an encouraging way to end the year and we’re looking forward to the special Collaborate To Innovate Week, hosted on The Engineer’s website in February, for the winners’ announcements. 

    Finally, we are excited for the re-opening of the Thackray Medical Museum, when restrictions allow. In the first collaboration of its kind for Grow MedTech, the coming months will see the Thackray Medical Museum showcase six Grow MedTech projects in Future Space, part of a £4 million redevelopment project for the museum.

    We are now just weeks away from 2021 and the team are excited about what the coming year has in store.

    On behalf of Jo, Danielle and all of the team, we would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our partners and collaborators for their continuous support and we wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a safe and healthy 2021.

  4. Grow MedTech shortlisted for prestigious collaboration award

    Grow MedTech and The Medical Technologies IKC have been shortlisted for The Engineer’s Collaborate to Innovate (C2I) Award in the healthcare and medical category.

    The awards recognise and celebrate great examples of technology-led engineering collaboration across a range of different disciplines and sectors.

    The submission highlights its distinctive medical technologies research, innovation and translation system, collaborating with University of Leeds and UKRI EPSRC, UKRI Research England, 27 academic research organisation collaborators, 234 industry and clinical research organisation collaborators and a wider network of 928 associate members.

    Professor John Fisher, Academic Director of the IKC, said: “We are honoured to be shortlisted for an award that will celebrate collaborative innovations in this life-changing field. Our success in developing technologies that help people stay healthier for longer, addressing the challenges of an ageing population, has always been a collaborative effort for us.”

    The winners will be announced during a special C2I Week that will hosted on The Engineer’s website from 1st to 5th February 2021.

  5. Pioneering Leeds researcher accepted into leading programme

    A Grow MedTech supported researcher has been accepted into a prestigious scheme run by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

    Dr Yoselin Benitez-Alfonso, from the School of Biology, is Associated Professor in Plant Sciences at University of Leeds. Her cross-disciplinary research centres on the biophysical and biomechanical properties of cell walls surrounding plant intercellular channels, named plasmodesmata, and their potential uses in the development of new strategies for crop improvement and biomaterial development.

    Dr Benitez-Alfonso is among 101 individuals awarded Future Leader Fellowships today by UKRI. Grow MedTech supported her application through one-to-one coaching and mentoring.

    Created in 2018, the government-backed scheme is designed to promote ambitious and challenging research and innovation. 

    The £109 million fund supports outstanding researchers across UK business and academia. It enables them to develop their careers while helping to advance the UK’s vibrant research and innovation environment.

    And Leeds has been selected as one of seven universities to form the Future Leaders Fellowship Development Network, providing expertise and enabling recipients to collaborate and build key links in their areas of research.

    The recipients were announced on 15 October by Science Minister Amanda Solloway, who said: “We are committed to building back better through research and innovation, and supporting our science superstars in every corner of the UK. 

    “By backing these inspirational Future Leaders Fellows, we will ensure that their brilliant ideas can be transferred straight from the lab into vital everyday products and services that will help to change all our lives for the better.” 

    UKRI Chief Executive Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser said: “Future Leaders Fellowships provide researchers and innovators with freedom and support to drive forward transformative new ideas and the opportunity to learn from peers right across the country.

    “The fellows announced today illustrate how the UK continues to support and attract talented researchers and innovators across every discipline to our universities and businesses, with the potential to deliver change that can be felt across society and the economy.”

    To read the full article, visit the University of Leeds website.

  6. Call for industry challenges in medtech diagnostics

    Are you a company with unmet diagnostic research and development needs? Are you looking for ways to connect into academic know-how? Do you want to develop a new diagnostic technology and apply for innovation funding? 

    Grow MedTech and Translate MedTech, in partnership with the NIHR Leeds Diagnostics Co-operative, are hosting an Academic Industry Meeting (AIMday) on medical diagnostics on 10 December 2020 and we would like to invite you to participate.  

    We are now inviting companies interested in the field of medical diagnostics to submit questions by 28 October 2020 that will be strategically matched to our academic base across six universities (Bradford, Huddersfield, Leeds, Leeds Beckett, Sheffield Hallam and York).

    Selected questions will then be discussed in detail in one-hour focus groups at the AIMday, led by you with members of the team to help.  

    By participating in AIMday Grow MedTech Diagnostics you will: 

    • Meet potential academic collaborators 
    • Connect into a group of highly relevant and engaged academics and clinicians 
    • Gain a new perspective on your challenge areas 
    • Expand your network and gain new contacts 
    • Gain information on relevant funding schemes and follow on support for applications 
    • Access support from the Grow MedTech team of Technology Innovation Managers 

    For key dates and further information, including how to formulate your question, visit the AIMday website or get in touch with Joe Drake who can help guide you.  

  7. Transformative technologies for patients and the NHS

    Simon Butler was previously a Grow MedTech Technology Innovation Manager, based at Sheffield Hallam University. He is now helping start-ups and businesses bringing health and wellbeing innovations to market in his new role as Head of the Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre (AWRC) Wellbeing Accelerator.

    The AWRC Wellbeing Accelerator is based in Sheffield Hallam University’s new Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre, which houses over 3,000 square meters of specialist facilities including 3D printers and laser cutters for rapid prototyping, laboratories for product testing, a clinical research centre, and support networks. 

    In this article, Simon shares his thoughts on supporting the commercialisation of assistive and rehabilitative technologies. 


    It’s clear that demand on the NHS is growing and our health services are under increasing pressure. New technologies aren’t a panacea for this problem, but they can certainly help – in particular assistive and rehabilitative technologies. 

    There will always be a cohort of patients who, because of disease or trauma, need help to recover and resume their lives as before. For this cohort, there’s no doubt that an assistive or rehabilitative technology can be completely transformative. 

    But there is another rapidly growing cohort – that of an increasingly ageing population – where new assistive and rehabilitative technologies can help the NHS to deal with the pressure this creates.

    As people live longer, but not always in good health, the impact of disease and disability is increasing the burden on the NHS. 

    Rehabilitative technologies that can help these patients remain mobile, independent and healthier not only transform their lives, but relieve our health services as well. 

    Stroke recovery 

    I’ve been supporting one such project at Sheffield Hallam University that brings together physiotherapists, stroke physicians, physical activity and exercise specialists and computer scientists to improve rehabilitation for people with stroke.

    The team, led by Professor Chris Smith, has been working with a local company which makes power-assisted exercise equipment, to enable people with limited mobility to do physical exercise.  

    One problem with the machines for rehab purposes was that they didn’t tell users how much effort they were putting in and how much was being generated by the machine, so patients couldn’t see how they were improving. 

    The Sheffield Hallam team, using a Grow MedTech Proof of Feasibility grant, is developing an exercise programme for the machines based on clinical principles, that will help people with stroke to increase their endurance and strength.

    They’re also developing bespoke software for the machines, that will integrate the exercise programme and provide feedback to users. 

    The project has been working with patients to develop the programme and software, and the system will be trialled with 15 stroke patients, and then further refined based on their experience. 

    Positive feedback 

    Exercise programmes can be hard to maintain when patients are not seeing any improvement and this can demotivate them to maintain exercise regimes or lifestyle changes. 

    It is also important to be able to monitor certain conditions that affect movement, such as osteoarthritis. With a long-term progressive disease such as this, it can be hard to accurately monitor how a patient is doing over time.

    A project led by Dr Adar Pelah at the University of York, and involving a team of academics, clinicians and an industrial partner, is using gait analysis (pictured above) to look at how the way a patient walks changes when the patient develops musculoskeletal disorders such as osteoarthritis.

    Whilst the technology has value as a diagnostic tool, being able to pick up the condition at an early stage, it can also be used to monitor how the disease is progressing and if there are any improvements, perhaps due to a lifestyle change or therapy.

    This gives doctors the evidence to select the most appropriate treatment and encourage patients to, for example, continue to lose weight or carry on with an exercise programme.   

    The team, which involves the University of York and Cambridge University Hospitals, used Grow MedTech funding to carry out a market appraisal and identify the best routes to commercialisation.

    They also received a grant from the Medical Research Council to carry out a clinical trial – currently underway at Addenbrookes Hospital and in York.

    The ultimate aim is to create a handheld device that can be used easily by GPs or nurses, with patients simply walking across the room without the need for any specialist equipment. 

    Making recovery fun 

    Of course, it’s not only older people who benefit from rehabilitative and assistive technologies – many are developed for children too.  

    Children in particular can struggle to maintain physiotherapy exercises when recovering from injury or disease. By their very nature, these are repetitive and even for adults can be pretty tedious.  

    A team from Sheffield Hallam University have found a way to make such exercises more fun and encourage repetition by turning them into a virtual reality (VR) game

    Using a Proof of Concept grant, the team, led by Ivan Phelan, has been working with patients and health professionals to develop a suite of VR games to support upper limb rehabilitation in children and adults, for use in the clinic and at home. 

    The games can include climbing a tower or pulling an arrow from a quiver, putting it into a bow and shooting at a target. 

    These are now being tested by patients both in the clinic, at Sheffield Children’s Hospital and Leeds Teaching Hospitals, and at home.

    We’re also working with the team to develop a business plan and market assessment to identify potential industry collaborators to take the technology forward. 

    Putting patients first 

    A common thread for all these technologies is that they have developed their prototypes in a user-centred way, involving the patients right from the start. 

    I’m a firm believer – and of course, it’s a central philosophy at Grow MedTech – that all technologies, even those that patients might never see, like a surgical scalpel, should involve patients in their development.

    The reason is simple – it’s ultimately patients who will be affected once these technologies come into use. One big difference with rehabilitative and assistive technologies is that patients are usually the ones physically touching the technologies, not the clinicians. 

    This makes it much easier for those developing the technologies, as patients are keener to be involved in projects where they can see an immediate connection for them. 

    A good example of this is a project at the University of Huddersfield which is involving patients – children – at a really early stage. Dr Sohel Rana is an expert in materials science, working with composites that involve natural materials, such as cellulose or basalt. 

    Although he usually works with the aeronautics, motor manufacturing and construction sectors, he’s now applying his expertise to look at prosthetics for children who have had lower limbs amputated.

    Many prosthetics for children are just mini versions of those created for adults, but in fact, they need different properties.  Thanks to help from Grow MedTech, Dr Rana has teamed up with Devices4Dignity who already have a patient group. 

    Together, they are working with children to find out what properties they like and want, in terms of strength, flexibility and weight, so Dr Rana can tailor a material to match. 

    Rehabilitative and assistive technologies are an exciting field to work in, precisely because of the amazing impact they can have on patient’s lives.

    And that transformation should also result in big changes to how healthcare can be delivered and how effective it can be, helping our hard-pressed NHS as well. 

  8. Using light for accurate diagnosis

    Early and accurate diagnosis can make the difference between life and death. But for many diseases, diagnostic tools that can pick up disease at an early stage either do not exist, are imprecise or are limited to use in hospitals and specialist centres.  

    Grow MedTech is supporting Dr Yvette Hancock, Associate Professor from the University of York’s School of Physics and Enterprise Fellow at the Centre for Future Health, to develop a diagnostic tool with the potential to work across a range of diseases and in different healthcare settings.

    The tool uses a technique called Raman spectroscopy to analyse blood samples, whereby carefully controlled laser light is beamed at the sample and interacts with the molecules within it. 

    This interaction changes the signature of the light that scatters back, providing a ‘molecular fingerprint’ of what the sample contains. 

    Dr Hancock has been working with clinical teams and academic partners at Guy’s Hospital and King’s College, London, as well as the instrumentation company Horiba UK, to develop a portable Raman spectrometer that could be used in a clinical setting.

    But with so many potential applications for the technology, the team turned to Grow MedTech to help them identify the best route for clinical application and commercialisation. 

    Market analysis 

    Grow MedTech Proof of Market funding allowed Dr Hancock to commission the York Health Economics Consortium to assess the potential markets and health-benefit potential for the technology. Based on this analysis, the team decided to focus its efforts initially on prostate cancer. 

    Prostate cancer is currently screened using the PSA blood test and a GP examination. Because the PSA test has limited accuracy, it can lead to further testing such as a biopsy, which can have adverse side-effects, as well as late diagnosis when cancer is missed.  

    “We wanted to develop the technology to have the biggest impact possible and prostate cancer is an urgent area of need,” explains Dr Hancock.

    “It is the second most common cause of cancer death for men in the UK, with around 48,000 men diagnosed each year, and with incidence rates on the rise. 

    But our ability to accurately screen for it is still pretty poor, so an easy and accurate test would be a gamechanger for detecting prostate cancer at the earliest stage possible.” 

    Dr Hancock is now developing the diagnostic tool to not only accurately pick up cases of prostate cancer, but also to identify whether the cancer is an aggressive type and to what stage the disease has progressed, allowing for the best possible means of early detection of the disease. 

    Clinical studies 

    She has already proven that the technology can accurately diagnose prostate cancer in human cells in the laboratory. Grow MedTech is now helping to fund two studies to validate the technology in blood samples.

    The first is a clinical trial at Guy’s Hospital in London, testing the technology against samples from prostate cancer patients. A parallel control study is underway at the University of York with samples from healthy donors. 

    “Grow MedTech have been crucial in taking this project forward,” says Dr Hancock. “We’d already built a strong team, with industrial, clinical and academic partners, but the market analysis we gained through Grow MedTech was critical in helping us to focus our efforts more effectively. 

    The clinical trial, if successful, will help us take the technology to the next stage.”  

  9. MedTech engineering – an indispensable part of healthcare

    Danielle Miles, Technology Innovation Manager at Grow MedTech, investigates how medical engineering plays a role across many aspects of medtech development and the ways in which it is being applied at some of our partner universities.

    Over the last few months, the importance of medtech engineering has been brought into the public consciousness as never before. Engineering companies – from Formula 1 teams to Dyson – have stepped forward to increase the production of ventilators and protective equipment, to help the NHS deal with the coronavirus.

    While it will be medical science, through vaccines, tests and treatments that provides an eventual route out of the crisis, engineering has proved critical to the immediate response. 

    The range of engineering companies involved has emphasized the multidisciplinary nature of medtech engineering. It draws on nearly all facets of engineering – chemical, electrical, mechanical, materials and more. But it must also work in tandem with medical expertise, to ensure that the engineering solutions proposed properly meet clinical needs.  

    At the University of Bradford, we’ve helped to build such a multidisciplinary team, bringing together three academics from different parts of the University to work together on developing synthetic vascular implants. 

    The aim is to enable surgeons to avoid taking blood vessels from other parts of the body for use in bypass surgery. Dr Farshid Sefat from the School of Engineering, Dr Jacobo Elies from Pharmacy and Medical Sciences and Dr Kirsten Riches-Suman from Chemistry and Biosciences have teamed up with two clinicians from Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust to take their project forward.

    They are using a Grow MedTech Proof of Market grant to look at the commercial and market opportunities in this highly competitive field. Their aim is to develop an implant into which the body’s own cells will migrate, to help it work as effectively as blood vessels taken from the patient. 

    Tackling healthcare challenges 

    Engineering has always been part of the solution for healthcare and is becoming more important with the huge challenges now faced by our healthcare systems: rising costs, pressure on quality and safety, an aging population and growing numbers with chronic conditions, to name but a few.

    MedTech engineering is helping us to tackle the broad challenges that affect us all, but it is also being brought to bear on more specific challenges where, although fewer stand to benefit, the potential impacts are life-changing. 

    At the University of York, for example, researchers are developing tissue engineering and biomaterials approaches to help treat hypospadias, a common genetic condition where boys are born with their urine hole in an abnormal position on the penis.

    Surgery to correct the condition has mixed results, due to the lack of native tissue at the repair site.  Professor Jennifer Southgate, in collaboration with colleagues from Leeds, has developed a means of removing cells from pig bladders to create a material with similar properties to the natural tissue for use in such surgical reconstructions.

    With the help of Grow MedTech, she is now working with NHS Blood and Transplant to adapt the technique for donor human bladders. This will avoid some of the regulatory hurdles associated with the use of animal tissue to enable this material to reach the clinic much faster. 

    A rich heritage 

    The UK has a rich heritage in medical technologies. The use of nuclear magnetic resonance for imaging and diagnostics was pioneered in the UK – and many millions now benefit from MRI scans across the world. 

    The UK was a pioneer too in orthopaedics, particularly joint replacements, and in the use of ultrasound.  Initially, a technology used only for diagnosis and observation, especially pre-natal, ultrasound is now used for treating disease – as well as for many non-healthcare applications. 

    One such application developed by researchers at the University of Leeds involved using ultrasound to monitor nuclear waste. Now a team led by Dr James McLaughlan is being supported by Grow MedTech to use his expertise in this field for the treatment of cancer.

    His work uses high-intensity focused ultrasound, or HIFU.  HIFU focuses ultrasound beams to a tiny area, the size of a grain of rice, which heats and so kills cancerous tissue.

    Dr McLaughlan aims to develop a device that a surgeon could use both to identify and treat head and neck cancers without damaging any health tissue.

    Grow MedTech funding will enable Dr McLaughlan to build and test a prototype device, engage with patients and map out the regulatory and market pathway for the technology. 

    A national and regional strength 

    The UK’s medical technology sector – in which medtech engineering plays a central role –  accounts for six percent of the sector globally. And the Leeds and Sheffield City Regions have a concentration of medical technology companies and university research in this field, which Grow MedTech is helping to leverage. 

    All our partner universities have strengths in medical engineering, particularly the largest institution in the consortium, the University of Leeds. Healthcare technologies make up almost 20 percent of Leeds’ research portfolio, with particular expertise in medical and surgical engineering, wearable devices, bioelectronics, imaging and robotics.

    It is surely no coincidence that the University has such a large Faculty of Engineering. Also important are Leeds’ close links to the teaching hospitals in the city, which help ensure clinical input on all medical engineering research. 

    Leeds Teaching Hospitals, for example, runs one of the largest in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) clinics in the UK, and its clinical director, Professor Adam Balen is a partner in a project at the University of Leeds to develop new methods to maintain the viability of human embryos during IVF.

    Dr Virginia Pensabene in collaboration with Prof Helen Picton is developing a device for use in IVF that provides a safe, closed and precisely regulated microenvironment, more closely resembling an embryo’s natural growing conditions. This will provide an alternative to the current system, which sees embryos grown in open plastic dishes, overlaid with a potentially toxic mineral oil.

    Grow MedTech funding is enabling the project team to assess the safety and toxicity of different materials for their device and validate the most promising. Key to the project is user engagement: with patients, the public as well as embryologists at other IVF clinics. 

    Our healthcare system pledges to care for us from cradle to grave and healthcare and medical engineering plays a role at every stage: from the pre-natal care to supporting the elderly; from diagnostics to improving public health. 

    The current crisis has brought the role of medtech engineering, usually invisible to the majority of patients, suddenly into full view. Once the crisis is behind us, hopefully, that visibility will remain. 

  10. £100k project will see AI used to speed up ADHD diagnosis

    With support from Grow MedTech, Professor Grigoris Antoniou (pictured above) is working with the South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust to use Artificial Intelligence (AI) for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) diagnosis in adults.

    ADHD in adults

    It has been estimated that 1.5 million UK adults have ADHD, leading to a wide range of difficulties, jeopardising careers and relationships.  Treatments are available, but diagnosis by the hard-pressed NHS can be slow.

    Now, Professor Grigoris Antoniou at the University of Huddersfield has harnessed AI to speed up the process.

    ADHD in adults has emotional symptoms that include extreme irritability, low self-esteem and sense of insecurity, trouble staying motivated and hypersensitivity to criticism.

    These issues can result in poor organisational skills, trouble starting and finishing projects and chronic lateness.  The Royal College of Psychiatrists has also said that people with the disorder were more likely to be involved in criminal behaviour or become suicidal.

    Using AI to achieve a diagnosis

    Professor Antoniou is a globally-acknowledged expert in AI and has already helped to develop its potential to predict suicide risk in mental health patients.

    He has now continued his research collaboration with the South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (SWYPFT) in order to show how the technology can be used to help diagnose ADHD in adults and whether further treatment is warranted.

    “There are long and growing waiting lists and as people wait to be diagnosed and treated and this can result in adverse effects on their work, their social life and their family life,” said Professor Antoniou, adding that a reason for the lengthening waiting time is that there are few specialist clinicians able to do a full diagnosis.

    “So, we set out to use AI to provide help with decisions.  The idea is that the AI technology will be able to identify the clear-cut cases.  In many cases, the data itself more or less tells us whether it is a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ for further treatment.

    “The technology is fully embedded in a clinical pathway which ensures there will always be a clinician who can over-ride what the AI says,” continued Professor Antoniou.

    The procedure

    The procedure is that the data routinely collected prior to ADHD diagnosis is fed into an AI algorithm.  Three outcomes are the result: yes or no to further treatment or an unclear result that requires further assessment of the patient.

    Professor Antoniou explained that two AI technologies had been harnessed for the project.

    “One is machine learning-based.  We took data from previous cases and trained a prediction model.  The second method is knowledge-based.  We worked with clinical experts and asked what their diagnosis would be if they are faced with this data.  We then encoded this knowledge.”

    The AI solution to diagnosis has been co-developed by Professor Antoniou with his collaborator Professor Marios Adamou, consultant psychiatrist at the South West Yorkshire NHS Trust and Visiting Professor at the University of Huddersfield.

    “It is the close interplay of AI and medical expertise that has made this development possible,” Professor Antoniou said, “and it is important to have such interdisciplinary collaborations between computer science and health science at Huddersfield.”


    This news item was written by the University of Huddersfield, click here to view the original article.