An artificial intelligence solution for diagnosis and assessment of small intestinal biopsies in suspected or known coeliac disease

Liz Soilleux research coeliac diagnosisProject duration: 24 months

Total grant awarded: £175k

Additional funding from industry: £75k

Dr Elizabeth Soilleux is an academic clinical pathologist (a medical specialty that involves the diagnosis of disease) and founder and Chief Executive Officer at Lyzeum Ltd in Cambridge. Lyzeum Ltd will be working with a multi disciplinary team of mathematicians and pathologists from the University of Cambridge and the University of Edinburgh to develop an artificial intelligence solution to improve the accuracy and speed of diagnosis of coeliac disease.

In the majority of cases, an endoscopy with a biopsy of the small intestine is needed to diagnose coeliac disease. Biopsies are examined by a trained pathologist, a process that can be time consuming and subjective, with different opinions in up to 25% of cases. In addition, results are filed individually with no opportunity to learn from patterns or similarities in the biopsies.

The research team will have access to a large database of scanned high resolution images of small intestinal biopsies, which will be used to develop an algorithm that can classify biopsies as either diseased or normal and highlight uncertain cases, where an expert opinion is still required. 

The algorithm will be made available on a cloud based, digital pathology solution that clinicians and researchers can access to help with diagnosis. The research will help automate the investigation of the majority of biopsies, freeing up valuable pathologist time and potentially identifying subtypes of coeliac disease or the presence of other related conditions.  

Innovate UK and CUK logo

Coeliac UK and Innovate UK research grant awardee 2019