Innovative X-ray technology company Micro-X will develop a lightweight brain CT scanner based on its carbon fibre nanotube X-ray emitter for the rapid detection and diagnosis of stroke.
The development will be funded by a $40 million grant – one of the largest health grants ever awarded in Australia – made to the Australian Stroke Alliance by by the federal government’s Medical Research Future Fund frontier health program.
Micro-X’s share of the funding will be $8 million over three years, and will miniaturise diagnostic brain CT scanning so scanners can be small and affordable enough to have them fitted to road and air ambulances.
Adelaide-based Micro-X has already successfully completed imaging trials on cadavers at the Melbourne Brain Centre and begun development of core X-ray beam tomographic image reconstruction algorithms.
The company told investors: “This early work yielded early and promising imaging performance that, with further clinical and technical input, has the potential to approach the current diagnostic standard of care, a conventional X-ray 8-slice helical CT.”
Bringing pre-hospital stroke care closer to the patient has the potential to improve patient outcomes, and opens up a market potential the company estimates at $25 billion.
The brain centre’s Professor Geoffrey Donnan said the technology had the potential to transform stroke care remote from major hospitals.
Donnan said: “Lightweight, portable and affordable CT imaging is the next frontier of stroke care.”
The next stage of the project will involve:
- Engineering development and prototype construction of a scanner and telehealth interfaces
- Continuing algorithm development and refinement of image processing
- Vehicle integration and data communications design
- And the validation of the performance of the ring scanner against current standards.
Micro-X CEO Peter Rowland said: “The compact, rugged low-cost CT scanner which Micro-X will develop under this program will be a global first never before imagined.”
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