PainChek (ASX:PCK), which makes an eponymous app that uses artificial intelligence to assess pain in patients who have trouble expressing it, is trialling its technology in babies.

It has partnered with the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) to run clinical tests on the PainChek app in infants, in a study titled “PainFaces”.

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PainFaces, which is set to begin “within days”, will be conducted in the Emergency Department (ED) of Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital.

Pain scores derived using the app will be compared to those obtained using observational children’s pain assessment tools by two independent assessors in 100 infants undergoing painful procedures within the ED.

If it works, the data will be used to support submissions of the infant version of the PainChek app with the Therapeutic Goods Administration, the US Food and Drug Administration and the CE Mark in Europe.

Associate professor Di Crellin, of the MCRI, has evaluated the validity and reliability of two observational children’s pain assessment tools, the Face, Legs, Activity, Cries and Consolability (FLACC) scale and the Modified Behavioural Pain Scale (MBPS), in assessing procedural pain in the ED. These will be compared with scores from the PainChek app.

“Children who present to the ED often have underlying pain or need to go through painful medical procedures,” said PainChek chief scientific officer Professor Jeff Hughes.

“The PainFace study will be looking to validate PainChek as an accurate pain assessment tool that helps clinicians in the ED improve the quality of pain management for these vulnerable children.”

PainChek shares have quadrupled since March. The company received a $5m funding commitment from the government in April.

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