Thousands of patients in Europe with liver disease could be saved from having painful and expensive needle biopsies in the future, after a multi-million Euro grant was awarded to a consortium of hospitals to use a faster and safer MRI called LiverMultiScan, developed by Perspectum Diagnostics.
Fuelled by rising levels of obesity, Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) affects up to a quarter of the European population and left untreated can lead to cirrhosis and liver failure. The historic method of diagnosing NAFLD is by liver biopsy, which in addition to being costly and painful, samples only a tiny fraction (1/50,000th) of the liver. LiverMultiScan, which is being showcased at the forthcoming International Liver Congress in Barcelona(April 13 – 17th) is a non-invasive alternative which accurately measures liver fat and other metrics, and can help doctors detect early disease.
“A cost-effective tool for non-invasive liver tissue characterization would be a major step forward in the treatment of patients with liver diseases such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease,” explains Dr. Minneke Coenraad from Leiden University Medical Centre, one of the investigators leading the study.
Supported by the Horizon 2020 SME instrument, the RADiCAL trial (Rapid Assessment and Diagnosis in Chronic Adult Liver disease) will compare the cost of patient care using liver biopsy with that of using LiverMultiScan. 2,000 patients suspected of a diagnosis of NAFLD will be recruited to centers in Germany, the Netherlands and Portugal. Each patient will be randomized to either follow the current diagnostic pathway with biopsy, or to have early access to state-of-the-art MRI with LiverMultiScan, to determine the presence and extent of disease. At the end of the trial, the cost-effectiveness and patient-reported outcome measures of the two diagnostic pathways will be compared.
Dr. Rajarshi Banerjee, CEO of Perspectum Diagnostics, says “We are delighted that the H2020 funding body recognizes the enormous potential for LiverMultiScan to replace unnecessary biopsies. There is a real opportunity here, not only to make significant economic savings at a time when all health services are under pressure, but also to reduce the number of patients having to undergo what can be a stressful and painful procedure.”