Project to detect hidden signs of osteoporosis gets Innovate UK funding

Naitive Technologies has secured funding from Innovate UK’s Advancing Precision Medicine programme to develop its technology which aims to find patients at risk of osteoporosis during routine, otherwise unrelated, hip or pelvis X-rays. 

Posted on: 16/05/2024

Naitive is a population health company focused on musculoskeletal health. It specialises in advanced digital technologies that enhance clinical capabilities and transform patient care. It will be working in partnership with the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital (RNOH) NHS Trust on the project. 

The scale of the problem 

Osteoporosis represents a huge unmet clinical need, with over three and a half million people in the UK living with the condition. It is estimated that over 500,000 fragility fractures occur in the UK each year, but many of these could be prevented with earlier identification and intervention. These fractures are estimated to cost around £4.4 billion each year, not to mention the immeasurable cost to people, their quality of life and to their families. 

Making the invisible visible with AI 

The company’s flagship technology, OsteoSight, makes use of the thousands of X-rays that are already taken every day, for a variety of reasons, and applies AI to identify signs and estimate bone mineral density (BMD). Then, if this opportunistic screening identifies a patient at risk of low BMD, the patient’s care team is made aware and a diagnostic bone density scan can be arranged.  

This “case-finding” approach gives health systems the opportunity to identify osteoporosis earlier, enabling more cost-effective and curative treatment options – all without requiring extra resources for screening. 

Project goals 

The project has two aims. First, it will test the accuracy of OsteoSight in the intended population, that is people having a hip or pelvis X-ray for any reason. The second aim is to gather information on the practical implications of deploying opportunistic screening in the NHS. Working alongside one of the leading musculoskeletal specialist hospitals in this way will enable Naitive to deliver a technology that complements the day-to-day practice of the NHS. 

We are delighted to have won this Innovate UK award and to be partnering with the RNOH to evaluate OsteoSight in its intended clinical setting. This critical study would not have been possible without the grant. It has also allowed us to recruit outstanding early career researchers, giving them invaluable experience in making a difference to patients’ lives.

– Dr Catherine Kelly, Chief Operating Officer at Naitive Technologies

For more information on support available for health companies visit our Health sector page.

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