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Evaluating AI technology to diagnose and monitor patients with rare chronic liver disease

Overall summary

Primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) is an uncommon chronic liver disease which affects approximately seven people in every 100,000 in the UK. Accurate diagnosis is critical to ensure patients with rare hepatobiliary diseases such as PSC receive the right care and avoid invasive and expensive alternative investigations. 

Perspectum Diagnostics’ MRCP+ is a non-invasive diagnostic tool that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to support the diagnosis and monitoring of patients with PSC.  

The Oxford AHSN (now Health Innovation Oxford and Thames Valley) produced a feasibility study to assess the potential clinical utility and value of this novel technology in the current pathway. The AHSN is now working on an economic impact report with real world data based on use of MRCP+ in the PSC pathway. 

What is the challenge?

PSC is a disease with a highly variable and unpredictable natural history. There is currently no effective curative treatment aside from a liver transplant. The treatment of patients is highly variable and individualised and the mean time between diagnosis to liver transplant or death is in the region of 10-22 years. 

Current magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP) used in the standard pathway does not provide a clear image or objective assessment of the biliary tree (a system of vessels from the liver, gallbladder and pancreas). It is also crucial in preparing for liver transplant and post-transplant monitoring. 

Perspectum Diagnostics’ MRCP+ provides a non-invasive, objective, quantitative and reproducible means of assessing biliary health. It produces a 3D MRCP image of the biliary tree and a quantitative report including the whole tree’s metrics as well as single duct metrics which will allow for more precise and objective identification of biliary irregularities.  

What has been achieved?

The Oxford AHSN study also highlighted the technology’s potential for use in other pathways. Some suggested uses include post-surgical liver transplant monitoring, planning endoscopic treatments and other biliary tree indications. 

In addition, the evaluation indicated that implementing MRCP+ may lead to significant cost savings in the diagnosis and management of PSC. 

What people said

“The Oxford AHSN was instrumental in providing us with feedback from clinicians and stakeholders within the NHS. As a result, we now know that MRCP+ has strong potential to improve the diagnostic pathway of PSC in the NHS in England.” 

Sarah Finnegan – Senior Clinical Research Scientist & Product Specialist, Perspectum Diagnostics 

What next?

The Oxford AHSN is working with Perspectum Diagnostics on an economic impact report with real world data relating to use of MRCP+ in the PSC pathway  


Mamta Bajre, Lead Health Economist & Methodologist