£10m study to predict heart and stroke disease



Data scientists at LJMU are leading a €10 million project to develop personalised AI models to better predict patient risk of stroke and heart problems.

Supported by a €10 million grant from the European Union's Horizon programme and the UK Research and Innovation, the TARGET project brings together clinical teams, data scientists, physiotherapists, machine learning experts, human factors specialists, patient groups and medical technologists to address some of the commonest causes of death and the leading cause of disability in Europe.

Research collaborators kicked off the project at a recent launch meeting in Liverpool.

At the heart of the TARGET project is the creation of personalised machine learning (AI) models and decision-support tools for people at risk of stroke due to atrial fibrillation (AF) a common but often “silent” heart problem. Since those with AF have a significantly increased risk of ischaemic stroke, TARGET will address three pillars of the stroke pathway: 

  • Diagnosis, with the objective of being able to predict the onset of AF and therefore prevent the occurrence of AF-related stroke in the first place.
  • Clinical management if a patient has had a stroke.
  • Rehabilitation, providing personalised, recovery programs including gamification and other digital support tools.

Dr Sandra Ortega, Project Leader and Reader in Data Science at Liverpool John Moores University, said: "TARGET will shape cutting-edge virtual twins and AI technologies to develop reliable and personalised models for the benefit and well-being of AF and stroke patients.

These AI-based models will further enhance our understanding of the drivers of disease onset and their impact on disease progression, at the level of the individual, facilitating the exploration and validation of treatments tailored to each patient. TARGET will pave the way to deliver optimised clinical decision-making and rehabilitation strategies for the AF and stroke patient journey, superior to the current standard of care.”

Dominic Hillerkuss, Business Development Manager for Isansys Lifecare Europe GmbH, one of the partners, said: "We are delighted to be participating in this vitally important project. It is a great privilege to be working with the exceptional individuals and organisations in the TARGET consortium to develop new tools and methods that will reduce the dire effects of AF related stroke on individuals, their families and healthcare organisations throughout Europe.”

The multidisciplinary consortium composed of 19 partners from 10 European countries is led by Liverpool John Moores University and coordinated by the Swedish Lunds Universitet. It will work for the next five years to help prevent AF and AFRS, optimise acute management and rehabilitation, reduce long-term disability, provide a better quality of life for patients and caregivers, and lower healthcare costs.

Principal Coordinator is Dr Sandra Ortega Martorell (LJMU); Coordinator is Prof Mattias Ohlsson (Lund); Methodological Leader is Dr Ivan Olier (LJMU) and Clinical Leader is Prof Gregory Lip (University of Liverpool).

The partners are:

Lunds Universitet. Sweden; Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Spain; Consorcio Mar Parc de Salut de Barcelona, Spain; Vrije Universiteit, Brussels; Revalidatieziekenhuis Inkendaalkoninklijke Instelling, Belgium; Institut National Polytechnique de Toulouse, France; Universite Paul Sabatier, Toulouse, France; Siemens SRL, Romania; Universitatea de Medicina, Farmacie, Stiinte si Tehnologie "George Emil Palade", Romania; Isansys Lifecare Europe GmbH, Germany; Stichting Radboud Universitair Medisch Centrum, Netherlands; Technische Universitaet Wien, Austria; Siemens Healthcare GmbH, Germany; Moverim Consulting srl, Belgium; Ethniko Kentro Erevnas kai Technologikis Anaptyxis, Greece; Liverpool University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, UK; Arrhythmia Alliance, UK; Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, UK; The University of Liverpool, UK;  Liverpool John Moores University, UK



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