Stroke imaging poised for big leap forward

The Australian Stroke Alliance’s multi-million effort to develop a stroke imaging system small enough to mount in an ambulance to scan patients at the point of care has taken a big step forward.

EMVision, one of two companies backed by the ASA to develop a breakthrough new scanner, has delivered and commissioned its first portable brain scanner to Liverpool Hospital in Sydney in readiness for clinical trials.

EMVision’s device utilises microwaves to scan the brain for signs of stroke, and being small offers the potential for early diagnosis and intervention by emergency staff.

EMVision Medical Devices CEO Dr Ron Weinberger said: “This is a pivotal moment for our company.

“This multisite trial across pre-validation and subsequent validation phase will provide crucial clinical evidence for the safety and efficacy of our product.”

However it is also a pivotal moment for the ASA’s goal of develop light-weight brain scanners to rapidly deliver pre-hospital stroke care by air and road ambulances, potentially reducing the incidence of one of the major causes of death in Australia.

Micro-X, a second company funded by the ASA is also pressing ahead with development of its, different technology solution to the question of in ambulance stroke imaging.

The company is refining its carbon fibre nanotube X-ray emitter to be fitted in ambulances, giving ASA and potentially patients two promising new technologies to choose from.

Meanwhile, EMVision’s device has been tested by staff of the biomedical engineering department at Liverpool Hospital, one of the sites where it will be trialed.

Operator training will commence and the company anticipates receiving the green light for the first patient scans to begin this month.

Dr Weinberger said this marked an important phase in the development and commercialisation of the company’s device.

Weinberger said: “I would like to recognise the hard work of the EMVision team and our clinical partners that have made this happen in an efficient and positive manner.

“We look forward to updating in the near future on the advances of our product portfolio and the latest clinical data.”

Last week EmVision was awarded a $2.5 million grant from the NSW Medical Devices Fund to support clinical studies.

EMVision will repay the grant upon reaching a positive operating profit supported by commercial success.

Picture: EmVision portable brain scanner

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