Non-invasive Scan to Detect Early Liver Disease

Non-invasive Scan to Detect Early Liver Disease

Source: Isis Innovation

Oxford scientists have developed a new technique that can spot early liver disease. At present, liver disease can only be accurately determined by an invasive biopsy, as there are no tell-tale symptoms. The new scan uses standard MRI technology and costs half as much as a biopsy.

The scan was developed by a team from the Radcliffe Department of Medicine at the University of Oxford and the latest Isis Innovation spin-out, Perspectum Diagnostics. Isis Innovation is the technology transfer company of Oxford University.

Nearly 15 million people in the UK are affected by some form of liver disease. Most suffer from fatty liver disease, which has been linked to obesity, diabetes and alcohol abuse. Liver disease is associated with early death and cancer. The Chief Medical Officer for England identified liver disease as a priority for the NHS in her report on the state of the nation’s health. The new scan will allow early, pain-free detection, and treatments such as dietary changes, drugs and exercise to be tailored for individual patients.  Dr Rajarshi Banerjee, Chief Clinical Scientist for Perspectum Diagnostics, said: “A real breakthrough is that doctors will be able to detect which overweight adults and children have liver disease and how it is progressing. Conservative estimates suggest at least 1.5 million children across the EU are affected.”

Prof Stefan Neubauer, Director of the Oxford Centre for Clinical Magnetic Resonance Research, and a Non-executive Director of Perspectum Diagnostics, said: “The simple non-invasive procedure may also facilitate pre-emptive scanning of patients in high risk groups and getting effective treatment before the most obvious and worrying symptoms develop. Treating patients in the early stages of liver disease will save lives and our health care system considerable expense.”

Tom Hockaday, Managing Director of Isis Innovation said: “Isis is proud to have a role in the development of Perspectum Diagnostics. With its incorporation, both patients and the wider medical community will realise the benefits of this important technology.”

Click here for a PDF version of the press release.