Innovative eye researchers shortlisted for healthcare innovation award

Professor Alastair Denniston, consultant ophthalmologist at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB), and his team have been shortlisted for a prestigious award celebrating the best healthcare innovations in the West Midlands.

The team, led by Prof Denniston who works across Birmingham Health Partners members UHB and the University of Birmingham, also includes colleagues based at City University London and Moorfields Eye Hospital.

They have been nominated in the Advanced Diagnostics, Genomics and Precision Medicine Award category of the West Midlands Academic Health Science Network (WMAHSN)’s third annual Meridian Celebration of Innovation awards.

More than 250 people from across the West Midlands will gather at the Birmingham Conference and Events Centre on 13 July to attend the awards.

Prof Denniston commented: ‘We believe that this innovation could significantly improve how we care for patients with sight-threatening inflammation, a serious condition known as uveitis.

“We have developed a way of using existing retinal scanners to measure the level of inflammation in the eye – all in a matter of seconds.

“For the patient it is like having a photograph, and it should give doctors the confidence to make better treatment decisions – moving from old-fashioned clinical estimates, to accurate precision medicine based on an advanced diagnostic tool.

“The second phase of the trial is being led by our brilliant doctoral researcher, Dr Xiao Liu, and we are very excited to see the results.”

Computer scientist and image analyst, Dr Giovanni Ometto and Prof David Crabb (City University London), added: “We have developed an algorithm that identifies the fluid in these images and calculates a measurement of the particles suspended in it.

“The algorithm is currently being tested in a clinical trial, and we’re hoping to soon be able to see how it can improve care for patients affected by this devastating disease.”

The awards were established to recognise and celebrate the work of individuals and organisations in developing better healthcare and increasing wealth for local people, and the ceremony will provide an opportunity to celebrate achievements from across the West Midlands.

Many entries were submitted across the 6 categories, which will now be assessed by a panel of experts to choose the eventual winner.

Dr Christopher Parker, WMAHSN Managing Director, explained: “We are delighted to announce that Prof Denniston and team have been shortlisted for the Meridian Celebration of Innovation Awards 2018 in the ‘Advanced Diagnostics, Genomics and Precision Medicine Award category.

“This is the third year of our awards to recognise and celebrate the work of individuals and organisations across the region in delivering better health and care.

“All of our shortlisted entrants are answering real challenges that face professionals, patients and carers every day.

“The quality of submissions has grown year on year, and so everyone who has made it through to the final should be rightly proud of this achievement.

“I look forward to celebrating with all finalists when the winners are announced at the Meridian Celebration of Innovation Awards ceremony on the 13th of July.”