Micro-X is currently developing a lightweight CT scanner to be integrated into any ambulance.

As a core technology partner in the Australian Stroke Alliance, Micro-X is developing a revolutionary lightweight CT Scanner for use in road and air ambulances that will provide point of care early stroke diagnosis, reducing time from stoke onset to treatment.

Early diagnosis and pre-hospital treatment of strokes has been shown to hugely improve patient outcomes and reduce healthcare costs, revolutionising stroke treatment, particularly in rural and remote locations. The project, funded by the Australian Government Medical Research Future Fund, will occur over 5 years with the outcome being a clinically proven mobile head CT system ready for commercialisation.

Innovative Lightweight CT Scanner

The development of the mobile CT scanner is made possible thanks to Micro-X’s Electronic X-Ray tube technology, which relies on a world-first carbon nanotube (CNT) electron emitter. The design uses a small arc with a number of CNT x-ray emitters and a curved detector, as opposed to conventional CT that has a large heavy rotating tube and detector gantry, to provide diagnostic quality three-dimensional CT images that allow diagnosis for ischemic and haemorrhagic stroke. By diagnosing the type of stroke, accurate treatment can be provided much faster than currently available. The technology is initially focused on Point of Care Stroke Imaging, however there is limitless future potential to provide true point of care CT diagnostics across many pathologies.

Affordable Stroke Diagnosis

Our In-Ambulance Head CT Scanner aims to replicate the diagnostic images achieved with a conventional helical CT scan to assist in pre-hospital, mobile diagnoses of strokes. We know that even one minute can influence the impact of a stroke, and it’s our goal to ensure early diagnosis, faster treatment and better outcomes for stroke patients. Built in collaboration with the Australian Stroke Alliance, its partners and funding under the Federal Government’s Medical Research Future Fund ‘Frontier Health Program’, the scanner is designed to provide high quality diagnostic imaging that provides clinicians the confidence in determining optimum treatment pathways.

Designed to meet the challenge of being transported in vehicles, the miniature scanner provides the best operator and patient experience and includes many innovations enabled by our Electronic X-Ray tube, including the use of a curved detector in partnership with Fujifilm.

Micro-X’s CT Scanner key benefits include:

  • Compact and lightweight size for integration into any road or air-ambulance, turning existing ambulances into a Mobile Stroke Unit.
  • Simple and Effective Workflow to enable ease of patient positioning, reduced operator costs and rapid patient imaging.
  • High Speed CT Imaging to deliver fast high-resolution images of the brain that enable clinicians to accurately diagnose stroke without motion artefacts.
  • Fully Stationary CT with no moving parts to enable reliable imaging in any environment, even in vehicle movement.
  • Cost Effective design that will enable widespread deployment of the system to ambulances globally.

Understanding the Need

Stroke is a leading cause of death and long-term disability in Australia and second highest cause of death globally. More than 15 million people worldwide each year suffer a stroke; five million die and another five million are permanently disabled.

Stroke is highly treatable but time critical. Early intervention is key to reducing deaths and disability and increasing positive patient outcomes, by allowing medical teams to scan, diagnose and assist a patient at the point-of-care – in some cases before even reaching hospital – a better patient outcome can be achieved.

The Stroke Golden Hour Program

For the best patient outcomes stroke treatment needs to be offered within the first few hours of stroke occurrence, known as the ‘Golden Hour’. By using our game-changing technology, we aim to provide point of care stroke diagnosis by moving CT X-ray equipment to the patient in an ambulance so that earlier treatment can occur.

We are partnered with the Australian Stroke Alliance to bring our disruptive technology into commercialisation with grant funding from the Medical Research Future Fund. In Stage 1 of the program and under clinical guidance of the ASA at the Melbourne Brain Centre, we successfully completed imaging trials on cadavers using our electronic X-ray tubes in a simulated array of static multi-source X-ray to deliver cone-beam tomographic images, reconstructed with early algorithms that we developed.

Stage 2 of the collaboration commenced in September 2021 with a planned 3 to 4 year duration. In this phase, we will continue to leverage our established relationships with Fujifilm, the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, USA, MADA Health Collab Team in Melbourne and the Melbourne Brain Centre to develop clinical image verification prototypes that will be tested at the Royal Melbourne Hospital by neurosurgeons acting as clinical advisors to the ASA, to further develop and refine image reconstruction algorithms and software so that image quality exceeds the current Mobile Stroke Unit benchmark standard of care. In addition we will perform the necessary engineering development, prototype construction and vehicle integration to meet operational requirements for in-vehicle trials at the end of this phase. A successful outcome will deliver all of the technical file documentation and clinical studies for medical device regulatory submission and set the path for commercialisation of this and future ultra-portable CT modalities for Micro-X.