By SALMA ED-DAOUI
Liverpool and Manchester Metropolitan University researchers secure substantial funding to develop an early DPN diagnostic test. With diabetes impacting millions and incurring significant NHS costs, including DPN-related complications, the team collaborates with Aintree Hospital and global partners. Their goal is to detect DPN at an early stage, enabling precise diagnosis and timely intervention to prevent severe consequences like foot ulcers and amputations.
The Key Players in the Research Team
The research team includes Uazman Alam, Yaochun Shen, Yalin Zheng, and Liangxiu Han. They collaborate across disciplines to create an intelligent imaging solution for DPN screening.
Creating an Ultra-High-Resolution Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) Device
The research project, set to commence this summer, will focus on developing an ultra-high-resolution optical coherence tomography (OCT) device. This device aims to detect DPN in the cornea, the front part of the eyes. In addition to the hardware, the team will also concentrate on formulating novel artificial intelligence (AI) solutions for predicting DPN using corneal OCT images.
The Significance of Corneal Nerve Fiber Visualization
Early DPN detection relies on observing delicate nerve fibers, visible in the cornea. The cornea is exceptional as the sole organ allowing direct visualization of these fibers, enabling early DPN identification. The upcoming OCT device will enable non-invasive, swift imaging of corneal nerves.
Advancing Diagnosis and Treatment for DPN
Uazman Alam leads corneal nerve use for DPN detection. Current tools fall short, causing delayed diagnoses and higher risks. Assessing corneal nerves shows promise, yet is limited by invasive methods. An AI-powered non-contact OCT device would revolutionize diagnostics, allowing widespread implementation.
The Research Timeline and Clinical Validation
The study extends until 2027, with clinical validation involving volunteers and diabetics at Aintree Hospital. Innovations in DPN screening strive for clinical applicability, aiming to prevent disability, save lives, and benefit the UK economy and society.
Universities, hospitals, and global partners unite to transform DPN detection and care. Financial backing empowers researchers to create an advanced early test, employing state-of-the-art OCT devices and innovative AI solutions. Timely and precise DPN detection will alleviate complications, enhance patient well-being, and alleviate strain on healthcare systems.