Combining AI and MRI to improve human longevity

Twinn Health aims to boost healthy longevity by making disease prevention scalable – starting with metabolic disease.

British health tech startup Twinn Health recently emerged from stealth, boasting an AI-powered platform that analyzes MRI scans to detect preventable disease “earlier than ever before.” Starting with metabolic disease, the company’s AI platform leverages validated imaging biomarkers to improve diagnosis and treatment decisions.

With age-related frailty and liver disease also on its roadmap, Twinn Health is positioning itself squarely in the domain of longevity and preventive healthcare. The company is supported by WAED, a $500 million venture capital fund backed by Saudi Aramco, which invests in innovative tech-based startups.

Longevity.Technology: Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has been used in healthcare for decades and is widely used in hospitals and clinics for the diagnosis and follow-up of disease. In recent years, AI tools have appeared that help identify the presence of specific conditions within MRI scans, but the technology is not yet widely used in healthcare to support healthspan and longevity improvements. Twinn Health aims to change that, combining MRI and AI to enable the early detection and management of multiple age-related diseases. To learn more, we caught up with founder and CEO Dr Wareed Alenaini.

Alenaini is keen to stress that Twinn’s main goal is about helping physicians learn things they might not already be looking for.

“Usually, when you do an MRI today, it’s one MRI scan for one single diagnosis – kidney stones for example,” she says. “So, you do the MRI, the doctor looks at the kidney stones, writes the report, and then the scan data gets archived, and will probably never be checked again.”

“That’s where Twinn comes in – we’re extracting additional insights from MRI scans that may not have been the primary focus of the physician. We’re using technology to make chronic disease prevention scalable.”

Targeting metabolic dysfunction

Saudi-born Alenaini is a diagnostics expert with a PhD in bioimaging from Imperial College London, which is where the concept that led to Twinn Health first appeared.

Dr Wareed Alenaini is the founder and CEO of Twinn Health.

“My PhD was specifically focused on MRI – my thesis was around looking at MRI images and trying to understand human body patterns that relate to disease progression,” she says. “And the focus was more on chronic conditions – diseases that are related to metabolic dysfunction.”

Twinn Health was spun out of Imperial College to build on this concept.

“A significant part of the work focused on the patterns that can be seen in MRI images,” says Alenaini. “Looking at the organs, their texture, the location of certain cells that can tell us something about disease progression and the probability of being at risk of a certain disease. Diseases that we are most interested in are those you can actually do something about when you identify them early, when interventions are more effective compared to later stages.”

This led Twinn to focus initially on metabolic disease – a combination of diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity that puts patients at greater risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and other conditions. To identify patients at high risk of developing the disease, Twinn’s technology analyzes MRI scans for potentially dangerous hidden fatty deposits around the organs – a major risk factor in heart disease, even in healthy individuals.

“Our first patented AI model is able to predict metabolic dysfunction up to five years earlier,” says Alenaini. “In 2021, we built our first proof of concept, which showed 95% accuracy, and 2022, we validated that using real world data with NHS physicians in the UK.”

Targeting longevity with MRI

The recent growth in global interest in longevity and healthspan is, says Alenaini, a perfect fit for what Twinn is trying to accomplish.

“As the longevity field evolves and with the emergence of more healthy longevity clinics, we see ourselves as the most accurate diagnostic platform that can support this,” she says. “We are currently focusing on getting FDA approval for the American market, but our next focus will be the Middle East because we have seen a very significant push into longevity in that part of the world.”

Twinn aims to file for FDA approval of its metabolic dysfunction algorithm this year, but Alenaini says that will just be the beginning. Age-related frailty (sarcopenia) and liver disease are already on the company’s target list, thanks in part to the input of Dr Saleh Al Harthi, Chairman of the Medical Committee of the Saudi Football Federation, and an angel investor in Twinn.

“The aim is that 18 months from now, we want to have four more patents and three more conditions that we are addressing, supported by around one million data points,” she says. “That will begin to demonstrate our scalability and how to make this truly accessible.”

The company is now looking for further funding as it seeks to expand to multiple disease indications.

“We did our early fundraising around with a focus on metabolic disease,” says Alenaini. “Now we are expanding to other disease pipelines to support longevity.”