IIF Tests

Indirect ImmunoFluorescence (IIF) is the Reference Method for Autoimmune Diseases detection and is still widely used for its sensitivity, the specificity of the response, reproducibility and ease of use.

The main drawback of the IIF is its subjectivity in the interpretation of results, which highly depend on the operator's experience. As for the radiological diagnosis, the double reading of images is highly recommended to discrease misdiagnosis.


Introduction of new modern approaches based on computer systems is a cost-effective solution to Autoimmune diseases diagnosis.

Thus, it is possible to adopt an automatic computer classification system to define models of autoantibodies observed and significantly improve the quality of IIF and operators performance in autoimmune diseases diagnostic.

Digital technologies in the medical imaging are causing profound changes in workflow management in hospital services and in physicians diagnostic capabilities. In this context, companies involved in ICT for medical industry have great business opportunities.

Taken together, these data led us to consider the following specific objectives. These objectives can be achieved by obtaining a set of results :

    • Making improvements to organizational processes and decision making for public health policy makers needs horizontal (inter institution: medical centers) and vertical (region, Universities, healthcare…) partnerships. The project aims to use cooperation possibility between Sicilian and Tunisian academics and health institutions in order to enhance synergy between the Mediterranean countries in research and education also considering the new technology implementation in mediterranean countries and northern africa. The health structures involved in the project will contribute to the sustainability of institutional procedures implemented.
    • Improve Autoimmune diseases studies and diagnosis with computer systems requires:
      • The creation of an IIF images database
      • The IIF diagnostic expert system's validation in the health centers involved in the project
      • Research and education cooperation between Sicily and Tunisia in the field of immunology and medical imaging
      • Epidemiological studies realization on autoimmune diseases in close but different regions. The project will focus essentially on innovative techniques development and application for autoimmune diseases diagnosis, like diabetes or multiple sclerosis, with computer readable IIF test images.

The project also provides the installation in hospitals in Tunisia and Sicily of IIF report stations coupled with an innovative software developped at the University of Palermo. Technical support will be provided by the research team of the applicant and other affiliates firms. The software uses "Expert Systems" developped with Artificial Intelligence (AI) techniques in use; these algorithms require different training stages, according to a protected protocol already established in other domains, which take in consideration information obtained from images and data included in the medical records compiled directly by physicians.

Thus, the cooperation between the project partners will allow better expert system and equipment. In addition, the ability to conduct epidemiological studies in neighboring countries with similar climate but different in customs, habits, social problems, offers an unique scientific interest for further studies and applications.

  • The Increase in employement opportunities in the ICT applied to health will develop new activities like distribution, production and services whatsoever in Tunis and Sicily. Indeed, the interdisciplinary research team from Palermo University composed of physicist, engineers and doctors has developped software for reading IIF tests. In order to put the software on the market, the team aims to create a startup in Tunis which will outsource some activities (ergonomy & user friendly interface, marketing and selling activities…). This team has acquired over the years a good experience concretised by a Spin-Off creation in Sicily, the CyclopusCAD, srl


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Communications Officer

Prof. Giuseppe Raso

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