AI for IA: Using data to predict inflammatory arthritis
17 August 2023
Predicting when people will develop inflammatory arthritis (IA) using artificial intelligence (AI) is the goal of a new University of Reading research project.
Professor Weizi Li has been awarded £600,000 to investigate how machines can be developed to better detect the onset of IA, a disease that affects around 10 million people in the UK according to the NHS.
Funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), it is hoped the project will eventually ease pressure on the NHS by helping doctors to achieve earlier IA diagnoses.
Professor Li, Professor of Informatics and Digital Health at Henley Business School, said: “Inflammatory arthritis causes a lot of pain and can be a big problem for people and society. More and more people have been getting diagnosed with IA over the years, which puts pressure on our healthcare services.
“It's hard to tell if someone has IA early on, as there's no single test that can say for sure. We want to teach computers to look at lots of information and figure out if someone might have IA before it gets worse.
“Even though current technology has some problems with detecting arthritis, we think there's a big chance we can improve it to help people with joint problems.”
The project features novel interdisciplinary collaboration among AI experts, clinicians in primary care and secondary care, data ethicists, AI adoption and regulation experts, health inequality, bioanalytical and weather experts.
It will begin in October 2023 and will involve 18 months of research with co-investigators including Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust (RBFT), the University of Oxford, the University of Birmingham and the University of Leicester. The project also collaborates with partners including RBFT Patient leaders, NHS Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West Integrated Care Board, Thames Valley and Surrey Sub National Secure Data Environment, Insource Ltd., and NHS England.
It is one of 22 projects that will receive £13 million of funding from UKRI’s Technology Missions Fund. The money will fund studies that accelerate health research through AI innovation.