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UK hospitals to harness the power of AI gut-imaging to aid treatment of Crohn’s Disease

UK hospitals to harness the power of AI gut-imaging to aid treatment of Crohn’s Disease 

  • £1.2M National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) funding will see more than 10 UK NHS hospitals (3400 patients) utilising GIQuant  to improve analysis and management of Crohn’s Disease
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) costs the NHS £720 million a year, with relapses accounting for up to half the total cost (1)
  • Approximately 115,000 people in the UK are living with Crohn’s disease
  • World IBD Day, on May 19th, unites people worldwide in their fight against Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis


LONDON, UK. 17TH MAY 2022Today, Motilent, the first company to specialise in the assessment of digestive diseases using AI medical image analysis, announces a total of  £1.2M National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) funding to develop and roll out its  technology into more than 10 UK hospitals, including UCLH, Nottingham University Hospital and Frimley Park Hospital.

Crohn’s Disease is a painful, debilitating inflammatory bowel condition that affects 115,000 people in the UK, with 33% diagnosed before age 21. (2)  Currently, anti-inflammatory medications are the standard of care. However, for the 40% who do not experience inflammatory symptoms, these medications are ineffective and can cause severe side effects, as well as costing the UK economy over £280 million every year. (3)

Currently, 69% of the UK population experiences persistent gut issues, contributing to 1 in 8 deaths in the UK. (4) As a result, innovation in care for those affected by these conditions is a critical focus for the NIHR. Through its Invention for Innovation (i4i) Programme, the NIHR has invested £14M into ‘Oral and Gastrointestinal (GI)’ research – supporting the development of medical technologies by helping them to make the jump from concept to clinic, and enhance patient treatment and recovery. 

Building on its initial £685k investment, NIHR have awarded an additional £562k to Motilent to support the rollout of GIQuant to NHS trusts across the UK. The investment is the latest NIHR research grant awarded to Motilent – prior awards have focused on accelerating the development of GIQuant, by evaluating Crohn’s Disease activity with MRI and predicting treatment response in Crohn’s patients


Improving clinical confidence in Crohn’s Disease management

Motilent’s FDA cleared and CE Marked post-processing software, GIQuant, is already used by several UK health services including Great Ormond Street Hospital, and complements standard magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans to measure and track movement of the intestine. This measure of motility is often affected by GI disease inflammation – the more inflamed the bowel, the less it moves – and therefore provides insights into disease progression and treatment response. 

With an initial focus on Crohn’s disease, GIQuant aids physicians in advanced image assessment, providing data-led insights to monitor therapeutic response and allow for more informed clinical treatment decisions. This extra layer of objective data, collected non-invasively, can help physicians identify ineffective therapies faster, and speed up patient treatment journeys. 


Real world evidence – real world impacts

The NIHR funding will support a retrospective study on historic MRI scans, focused on training, and a prospective component across more than 3400 patients, in collaboration with clinicians and over 10 UK hospitals, collecting real world evidence to drive changes in the clinical management of Crohn’s Disease. The research will also explore the reduction in use of intravenous (IV) contrast dyes, which can cause severe side effects (5,6), and may offer potential NHS cost savings of millions each year through a combination of efficiency and efficacy improvements.

Motilent CEO Alex Menys commented: “One of the first questions we are asked is ‘who else is using GIQuant?’ and through this grant we have an opportunity to really drive the tech into a lot of different types of hospitals and give the clinical community the time (and resource) to see how GIQuant can fit their workflows. This of course builds on regulatory clearance and a large number of published papers, but there is no substitution for hands on use.”

Raffaella Roncone, Head of Innovation and Enterprises for NIHR’s i4i programme, said: “Motilent’s innovative work to find better ways to see inside the gut and monitor how treatment is working really has the potential to improve patients’ lives, and make the healthcare system more effective. We’re really excited to see how this technology develops and proud to be supporting this research.” 

Gordon Moran, Clinical Associate Professor at The University of Nottingham, commented: “This is an excellent piece of work from Motilent. With the new treat-to-target approach in inflammatory bowel disease it is imperative to have the right target which is accurate and affordable. This will allow us to treat patients better so that they can achieve a better quality of life. GIQuant definitely ticks all the boxes needed.”

For further information, please contact:

Belle Taylor | [email protected]

  • Alex Menys, Motilent CEO, and Nigel Horwood, Crohn’s patient advocate, are available for comment. Please email Belle Taylor (above) to arrange.

About Motilent:

Motilent is a technology startup on a mission to change the way we see the gut. Specialising in the assessment of digestive diseases using medical image analysis, their main focus area is Crohn’s Disease but also includes Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Gastroparesis. Motilent’s first product GIQuant aims to help clinicians to identify earlier when patients stop responding to immunotherapy.

About National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR):

The mission of the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) is to improve the health and wealth of the nation through research. We do this by:

  • Funding high quality, timely research that benefits the NHS, public health and social care;
  • Investing in world-class expertise, facilities and a skilled delivery workforce to translate discoveries into improved treatments and services;
  • Partnering with patients, service users, carers and communities, improving the relevance, quality and impact of our research;
  • Attracting, training and supporting the best researchers to tackle complex health and social care challenges;
  • Collaborating with other public funders, charities and industry to help shape a cohesive and globally competitive research system;
  • Funding applied global health research and training to meet the needs of the poorest people in low and middle income countries.

NIHR is funded by the Department of Health and Social Care. Its work in low and middle income countries is principally funded through UK Aid from the UK government.

About Motilent

Motilent is a medical imaging technology company that aims to make some of the latest and most exciting image analysis technologies available to the researchers who can use them to make the important scientific advances required to advance our understanding of gastrointestinal disease.

For further information please contact