EMVision builds breakthrough portable brain scanner
Written on the 1 November 2019 by David Simmons
In what has been described as a medical breakthrough, med-tech EMVision (ASX: EMV) has unveiled its prototype portable brain scanner.
The brain scanner has been in development for close to a decade and will allow doctors to perform scans on stroke patients from virtually any location.
The machine is the size of an ultrasound unit and according to EMVision will enable clinicians to make critical decisions earlier, allowing them to classify stroke subtypes and improve patient outcomes.
The prototype will be delivered to Brisbane's Princess Alexandra Hospital, where a clinical trial will commence later this year.
The trial will collect data from patients diagnosed with ischaemic and haemorrhagic stroke and will product CT or MRI images.
"The device represents a breakthrough opportunity for imaging the brain, at the point of care, in a manner otherwise not possible today," says EMVision CEO Dr Ron Weinberger (pictured right).
"Our ICU and Neurology clinical collaborators are excited to start the trial very soon."
The machine will be particularly useful for those unable to access point-of-care, fixed CT or MRI scanners, especially those who only have access to rural medical centres.
Additionally, the portable scanner is designed for use by emergency response paramedic teams and will be able to be moved around hospital wards.
"One of the most powerful global trends in healthcare accessibility and delivery is the rise of point-of-care imaging," says Dr Weinberger.
"Point-of-care ultrasound, as an example, has revolutionised the practice of medicine, influencing how care is provided in nearly every medical and surgical specialty. Whilst ultrasound is great for a wide range of applications, it is very poor for use in stroke care due to its inability to image the brain. We aim to fill this void for stroke."
EMVision's machine works by attaching a lightweight headset to patients which transmits safe, low-power electromagnetic signals into the brain.
These interactions in the brain are then picked up by AI software, which reconstructs and displays an image on the screen to guide diagnosis.
The company now plans to develop a commercial grade version of the scanner to scan stroke patients at their bedside while recovering, allowing hospitals to monitor for recurrent strokes and track response to treatments.
A hand-held version of the scanner is also in development, which EMVision expects will allow doctors to provide rapid stroke decision support and triage in ambulances.
"These two applications present EMVision with a significant commercial opportunity to provide clinicians and paramedics with valuable information to make critical decisions and intervene earlier," says Dr Weinberger.
"We expect our devices to be a valuable adjunct to today's traditional imaging technologies used in stroke care, CT and MRI, both of which produce exquisite images but cannot be used at the point of the care."
In March 2019, EMvision became a key commercial collaborator with the Australian Stroke Alliance who are looking to develop, test and implement breakthrough portable imaging technologies to transform pre-hospital stroke care for all Australians.
The Alliance is currently working towards a Medical Research Future Fund Stage 2 grant pledged at $50 million or more per group.
To accelerate EMVision's product development, in April the Company signed an MoU with US-based technology company Keysight Technologies (NYSE: KEYS) to collaborate on a new generation of vector network analysis (VNA) units for the healthcare market, a key component in EMVision's brain scanner.
The strategic collaboration will concentrate on engineering VNA units into a highly integrated form factor with the intention of reducing the overall size of EMvision's brain scanner system, enabling greater compatibility with ambulances, helicopters and other first responder applications which face space and weight limitations.
Business News Australia
Author: David Simmons