Technology to get more accurate readings of the pre-cancerous condition Barrett’s oesophagus that was devised in a study supported by the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) is to be developed as part of a new collaboration between the University of Oxford and Satisfai Health, a Canada-based leading medical solutions provider.
The exclusive development licence between Satisfai, which specialises in artificial intelligence (AI) applications in Gastroenterology and GI Endoscopy, and Oxford University Innovation Limited (OUI).
The Oxford Translational Gastroenterology Unit and Biomedical Engineering Department at the Big Data Institute have together developed a novel digital solution for the assessment of the length and area of involvement by Barrett’s Oesophagus, a precancerous condition, mostly in patients with gastroesophageal reflux.
Satisfai plans to further develop this work so that it can be tested in trials and turned into products for clinical use. The technology was initially devised and evaluated in a pilot study supported by Ludwig Cancer Research and the Oxford BRC, and its findings were reported in the journal Gastroenterology in 2021.
Satisfai has an existing AI-based solution (Veritai) for the detection of dysplasia (precancerous change) in Barrett’s oesophagus, and the licensing of technology from the Oxford group will provide for a more comprehensive digital assessment and risk assignment in patients with Barrett’s. This combination will also help in any treatment planning that might involve endosurgical resection.
Satisfai will be working closely with the leading researchers, clinicians and academics at the University of Oxford to further build, develop and integrate the licensed technology into Veritai. This will broaden the range of AI products which Satisfai is bringing to market.
The agreement builds on the work already done by Oxford researchers, supported by the Oxford BRC, to deploy AI alongside endoscopy in Barrett’s patients and so determine those most at risk of developing cancer.
Barrett’s oesophagus is a gastrointestinal condition affecting around 150 million people globally; approximately 1 in 200 patients with Barrett’s will develop cancer each year.
Dr James East, Consultant Gastroenterologist at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Associate Professor at the University of Oxford, said: “Bringing Oxford technology into this collaboration will be a big step in providing a comprehensive, integrated suite of tools for the assessment and management of Barrett’s oesophagus throughout the endoscopic workflow. I am delighted that we will enhance our ongoing research in this field with Satisfai to deliver AI supported care to NHS patients.”
Dr Jens Rittscher, Professor of Engineering Science at Oxford University and Adjunct at the Oxford Branch of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, added: “Our collaboration with Satisfai will translate this pioneering research into clinical practice to improve the screening, surveillance and outcomes for millions of Barrett’s oesophagus patients around the globe.”
Dr Michael Byrne, Satisfai Health founder and CEO, and Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, added: “We are passionate about developing technology that helps doctors and their patients. We are very proud of our collaborations and partnerships which we have developed around the world with the aim of delivering precision medicine to millions of patients across a range of GI diseases. Bringing the talent and pedigree of the University of Oxford into the Satisfai ecosystem is very exciting.”