reducing stillbirth (First PLUS) receives Phase 2 National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Award

June 17, 2021
New Grant
Fetal Growth Restriction (FGR)
Nellie Wild

Oxford, UK – JUNE 17, 2021. Perspectum is pleased to announce that it has been successful in the latest round of the Artificial Intelligence in Health and Care Award. Phase 2 funding has been awarded for a collaborative research project designed to predict fetal growth restriction. The collaboration’s partners also include the Fetal Medicine Foundation, London and the University of Oxford.

The competitive award scheme is run by the Accelerated Access Collaborative (AAC) in partnership with the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The Phase 2 Award (AI Award 02497) has been granted ­to support an observational cohort study to assess the clinical utility of an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-driven ultrasound-based decision-analysis tool called the OxNNet Toolkit. This tool provides automated measurements of placental size and blood flow, which can be used to predict whether the baby will grow properly later in pregnancy. Establishing the usefulness of such a technology in clinical practice could provide a foundation for universal screening for fetal growth restriction (FGR), the most common cause of stillbirth, which devastates eight families a day in the UK alone (Froen JF et al, Lancet (2011); 377:1353-6678).

According to Perspectum’s Medical Lead for Women’s Health and Principal Investigator for the First PLUS study, Professor Sally Collins, “The NIHR’s support should bring us a step closer to accurately assessing which pregnancies are at risk of FGR. If we know which pregnancies are at high risk, we can monitor them more intensively with extra ultrasound scans and arrange for delivery when the baby is seen to be critically growth-restricted and hopefully this will mean less families will be left grieving.”

The OxNNet Toolkit technology can be installed easily on existing ultrasound machines and has the benefit of adding only an additional 3 minutes during routine first trimester dating scans (Looney P et al, Placenta (2018);69:E68). The screening test also utilises routinely collected blood tests, resulting in minimal additional burden to resources, patients, or care providers.

Founder and Chairman of the Fetal Medicine Foundation, Professor Kypros Nicolaides, describes the First PLUS study as, “An exciting project that could lead to a major decrease in stillbirth.” Professor Sally Collins adds, “NIHR’s commitment to the rapid initiation of the research in this area is vital and we are all thankful for their continued support.”

About The AI Award partnership

NHSX is a joint unit of teams from the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England and Improvement, driving forward the digital transformation of health and social care.

The ACC is a unique partnership between patient groups, government bodies, industry and NHS bodies, working together to streamline the adoption of new innovations in healthcare.

The NIHR provides the people, facilities, and technology that enable research to thrive.

About Perspectum

Perspectum, a global medical technology and AI company with offices in the U.K., the U.S. and Singapore, delivers leading digital technologies to help clinicians provide better care for patients with chronic metabolic diseases, multi-organ pathologies, liver disease and cancer. With a strong focus on precision medicine using advanced imaging and genetics, our vision is to empower patients and clinicians through quantitative assessments of health enabling early detection, diagnosis, and targeted treatment. With a diverse team of physicians, biomedical scientists, engineers and technologists, Perspectum offers a way to manage complex health problems at scale. For more information, visit


The study is funded by the NIHR (AI Award 02497/NHS AI Lab programme). The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.


Prof. Sally Collins
Medical Lead for Women’s Health

+44 (0) 1865 655 343

Nellie Wild
VP Corporate Affairs
Perspectum, U.S.A