A U.K. company that is developing a 3D X-ray device using technology normally reserved for space exploration has received a roughly $1.35 million grant from the European Space Agency (ESA) and the U.K. Space Agency.
The €1.2 million in funding will allow the company, Adaptix, to continue to develop what it hopes will be a truly portable, low-dose digital tomosynthesis system that could be used clinically.
"They wanted to acknowledge that space technology has impact on people's lives," Gil Travish, co-founder and chief strategy officer of Adaptix, told HCB News. This funding "easily shows that impact and lets us bring that closer to clinic."
HCB News got a sneak peek at the company's prototype
, which utilizes X-ray technology historically used to view stars on spacecraft, at RSNA 2017.
"Many of the key developments that led to this work were inspired by the work in the space agency," Travish said.
For the 70th anniversary of the U.K.'s National Health Service, the system challenged industry to bring technology designed for outer space into the NHS.
"Using stargazing technology to spot cancer is exactly the type of advanced innovation that could improve care for patients by speeding up diagnosis and helping to deliver our long-term plan, which will save half a million lives," said Tony Young, national clinical director for innovation at NHS England, in a statement.
Travish said he worked with Adaptix cofounder and chief executive officer Mark Evans, who had come from the imaging industry, to develop the technology, as there was a gap between 2D portable X-ray images and clearer 3D images that can detect abnormalities like cancer.
"What this allows is digital tomosynthesis without having to move the source," Travish explained. "Bedside imaging, or in-clinic imaging, or even desktop imaging in the case of orthopedics, can be done quickly and easily with low cost. For patients who need periodic imaging for line placement, this can allow that to occur at a much lower dose."
The company, which has utilized the ESA’s U.K.-based business incubation center, plans to use the funding to do preclinical studies on phantoms and cadavers, with the eventual goal of working with OEMs to bring the product to market.
"We're eager to make an impact in the general radiography space," Travish said.