Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory joint disease affecting almost 20 million people worldwide (2017). Early treatment is essential to slow progression of the disease. With a shortage of rheumatologists in many countries, patients have extensive waiting times (>6months) to get the diagnosis and therapy they need to slow disease progression. There are currently no quick, easy triage tools that can objectively show disease severity and stratify patients that need to see a rheumatologist. There is a need for low-cost and non invasive tools to help triage patients and get them on the right therapy sooner.
With the global RA diagnostic devices market growing at 6% CAGR (2019-2023), it is a growing market which will support the $36 billion RA drug market. InfrArthritis has the potential to change the triage and monitoring process of RA entirely and personalise therapy decisions.
Inflamed joints of a patient with RA undergo pathophysiological changes, including hypoxia, synovial angiogenesis and an increase in leukocyte and protein concentration, altering the optical properties compared to healthy joints. Researchers from Birmingham University have developed a device which shines near-infrared light through the patient’s hand and measures the light at the tissue boundary to show the optical changes in inflamed joints. The device can be used to triage patients and additionally monitor disease severity to help therapy decisions. The IR imager is quick, objective, non-invasive and does not need trained technicians.
A prototype of the device has been developed and evaluated in benchtop testing and the clinical setting. InfrArthritis will create more devices to implement in a clinical setting to further validate the proof of concept.
Meet the team
Prof Hamid Dehghani
Venture Partner at NLC
Entrepreneur with more than 30 years experience in building global businesses, developing and executing growth strategies mainly in healthcare including mergers and acquisitions. Built businesses within corporates (Fujitsu, Philips Speech Processing, Nuance Communications) as well as through co-founding or investing in start-ups such as Superevent, Telecats Austria, ESR iGuide, contextflow and NLC.