Revolutionising Preeclampsia Diagnosis: How AI is Transforming Maternal and Neonatal Healthcare


Prof. Patricia Maguire - UCD

Patricia’s research focuses on circulating platelets in our blood and how they can be educated by their environment and take in important information about our health and disease. Combining her world leading expertise in understanding platelets together with Omics and machine learning technologies, she has developed PALADIN (PlAteLet-bAsed DIagNostics) a technology platform that reinvents how to find high-quality disease-specific diagnostics in the blood. Once these diagnostics are uncovered using PALADIN then they can be easily detected in any existing plasma sample. PALADIN can in theory be applied to any disease where platelets have been implicated for example: breast cancer, colon cancer, Alzheimer’s disease & Rheumatoid Arthritis; and to date, Patricia has used PALADIN to find clinically useful diagnostics for pre-eclampsia.

Pre-eclampsia is a serious complication affecting one in every 12 pregnancies. Annually, pre-eclampsia claims the lives of 70,000 mothers and 500,000 babies, making it one of the world’s deadliest pregnancy complications. At present, birth of the baby is the only treatment and safest for the mother. However, pre-term delivery is associated with a significant risk of long-term neurodevelopmental infant morbidity and mortality, and accounts for a huge proportion of admissions to neonatal ICU. While tests to ‘rule out’ pre-eclampsia are in clinical use, they are of limited value and no test is currently available to meet the crucial clinical challenge of either diagnosis or prognosis of pre-eclampsia. Patricia has recently used PALADIN to develop a new blood-based risk stratification tool for pre-eclampsia called AI_PREMie, which combines patent-pending biomarkers with artificial intelligence to both diagnose and risk stratify pre-eclampsia.  AI_PREMie is currently being trialled in three of Ireland’s largest and busiest maternity hospitals (covering 50% of all births in Ireland) providing compelling preliminary evidence that this technology works in the real world.

AI_PREMie has achieved both national and international recognition including winning the NovaUCD Invention of the Year Award (2021); the AI Ireland Awards, Best Application of AI to achieve Social Good (2022); the AI Ireland Awards, Best Application of AI in an Academic Research Body (2022); and the AI and Analytics Award for Societal Good (2023). Moreover, the International Research Centre on Artificial Intelligence (IRCAI), under the auspices of UNESCO, selected AI_PREMie as “Excellent” in the list of the world’s top 100 projects using AI to solve problems related to the 17 United Nations SDGs.