KAUST and amplifAI health combine technologies for early diabetes detection

KAUST and amplifAI health representatives at the MoU signing. (from left) KSHI Associate Director Imed Gallouzi, KAUST VPR and KSHI Director Pierre Magistretti, KAUST Professor Andrea Fratalocchi, amplifAI health CEO Meshari Alwashmi and amplifAI health Head of AI Eng. Mustafa Alghali.

King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) and amplifAI health, a Saudi heathtech company, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on January 22 to develop a new disease detection system that combines the artificial intelligence (AI) technology of the Saudi company and the hyperspectral imaging technology HyplexTM designed by KAUST Professor of Electrical Engineering Andrea Fratalocchi. As a first initiative, the collaboration will test the technology combination for the detection and management of diabetic foot complications. A clinical trial is in planning. 

More than 500 million people live with diabetes, a number that is expected to increase by over 100 million by 2030. The rate of diabetes is even higher in Saudi Arabia, with nearly 20% of the population diabetic. Moreover, diabetes is the leading cause of lower limb amputations worldwide, with diabetes responsible for more than 80 percent of lower-limb amputations in the U.S. 

The partnership aims to detect diabetes early, an ability that would lead to better treatment plans and significantly reduce lower-limb amputations.  

“This effort could save Saudi Arabia more than 2 billion Riyals annually in medical costs and reduce 1.5 million foot amputations worldwide every year, profoundly improving the quality of life of millions of people,” said Fratalocchi. 

Hyplex technology fits into any camera

HyplexTM can collect Terabytes of data in one second, which is vastly superior to the Gigabyte-scale of current commercial cameras, offering an abundance of new information for early disease detection. Through the KAUST spin-out Pixeltra, Fratalocchi is already testing HyplexTM with Saudi hospitals for the diagnosis of skin cancer. However, this MoU will be the first time applying the KAUST technology to diabetes care.  

"I am excited about our collaboration with KAUST, as it positions amplifAI at the forefront of science and innovation. This partnership combines our thermography AI-powered software with KAUST’s novel hardware to make a significant impact on global health. Together, we are pioneering advancements that have the potential to reshape the future of healthcare," said amplifAI health CEO Meshari F. Alwashmi. 

The MoU further serves as a demonstration of how the combination of Saudi technologies will improve diagnostics for a wide range of diseases. It also demonstrates how the KAUST Smart-Health Initiative (KSHI) is working to promote future healthcare in Saudi Arabia. 

“This initiative aims to enhance the predictive capabilities of AI in disease detection, through KAUST-developed technology, ultimately contributing to more accurate and efficient diagnostic processes,” said KAUST Vice President for Research (VPR) and KSHI Director Pierre Magistretti.