Adelaide company Micro-X (MX1) has started developing a small CT brain scanner that can be fitted in ambulances and emergency aircraft. If successful, the device will allow paramedics and retrieval teams to diagnose and then start treating stroke patients in the golden hour – the first hour after a stroke.

Today Micro-X signed a Project Agreement that will unlock $8 million of funding from a  $40 million grant awarded to the Australian Stroke Alliance under the Australian Government’s Frontier Health and Medical Research initiative. The funding will contribute to the development of the scanner for patient imaging trials in 2023.

This year, stroke will affect more than 15 million people worldwide – 5 million will die and another 5 million will be permanently disabled. In Australia, there are about 38,000 stroke events annually, or more than 100 a day.

“Your best chance of surviving a stroke lies in the first hour after the attack – the so-called “Golden Hour,” Professor Stephen Davis, AO, from the Australian Stroke Alliance, said.

“Detecting and starting treatment within that timeframe gives patients a much better chance of surviving and recovering with limited brain damage,” he said.

“This scanner would allow us to determine the type of stroke in minutes and start treatment on the way to hospital,” Graeme Rayson, Operations Manager, SA Ambulance Service (SAAS), said.

“An aeromedical stroke unit would potentially save hours in time to diagnosis for remote patients, enabling our teams to fly to a community, scan the patient and start treatment immediately on the plane en route to a hospital,” Dr Mardi Steere, Executive General Manager of Medical and Retrieval Services, Royal Flying Doctor Service (Central Operations) said. 

While some health services have Mobile Stroke Units (MSUs) – fully-equipped, custom-built specialist vehicles that accommodate a built-in, conventional CT scanner and specialist acute stroke personnel – these cost more than $1 million each and require reinforcement to support the weight of the CT scanner plus they are dedicated to stroke imaging.

These have delivered good patient outcomes, but the conventional CT technology’s size, weight, cost and workflow mean MSUs will always be relatively rare, particularly in rural and regional communities.

Micro-X’s technology by contrast, has the potential to turn every ambulance into a stroke-capable ambulance.

“We have invented an electronic X-ray tube” said Peter Rowland, Managing Director of Micro-X. “It’s already in use in mobile X-ray units in hospital emergency and ICU rooms. We will create a small arc using a number of these patented X-ray tubes, and a curved detector developed in partnership with Fujifilm, to create a compact and robust CT scanner with no moving parts that could be installed in every ambulance” he said.

The project is made possible thanks to Micro-X’s carbon nanotube (CNT) emitter technology.

Micro-X has successfully completed initial imaging studies with the Melbourne Brain Centre.

The second stage of the collaboration will continue the development and refinement of the device with the intention of conducting patient imaging trials in approximately three years.

Micro-X will build on established relationships with Fujifilm, the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, USA, the MADA Monash University Health Collab team and the Melbourne Brain Centre at Royal Melbourne Hospital. Micro-X is also sending an employee to the Johns Hopkins University as a PhD candidate from Flinders University for three years.

We are excited to be at the forefront in developing technology which has the potential to radically transform health care for all Australians,” Rowland said.

This unique collaboration puts Australia and the Australian Stroke Alliance at the forefront of global best practice in stroke care which may be adopted as the new standard for stroke diagnosis and management,” Professor Stephen Davis, AO, from the Australian Stroke Alliance, said.

For further Information

Tennille Reed, Strategic Marketing Manager, Micro-X, treed@micro-x.com, 0428 271 243

Micro-X and its US subsidiary is working with the US government to develop a passenger self-screening airport checkpoint portal, which will combine the traditional, sequential airport checkpoint processes into a consolidated module.

“We are delighted to be working with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to develop this new security system that will both make air travel a more enjoyable and safer experience,” said Peter Rowland, Managing Director of Micro-X.

The Airport Security Portal will combine existing self-service technologies such as automated document scanning and validation, photometric identity checking, and millimetre-wave body scanning with a miniature, self-service x-ray scanner for carry-on bags and personal property.

The project is made possible by carbon nanotube emitter technology invented and developed by Micro-X that dramatically reduces the size of x-ray tubes and imaging devices.

Conventional three-dimensional x-ray baggage scanners are far too large to make a self-service security portal practical.

Micro-X signed two contracts with the DHS last week that establish it as lead contractor in a team of innovative companies from around the world to develop the security portal.

They include Melbourne-based Elenium Automation, a leader in many elements of airport passenger workflow automation, a European leader in millimetre-wave on-person screening technology which enables high-resolution scanning of passengers in real-time as they move, and Sandia National Labs in Albuquerque, a US Government Laboratory which has developed an Open Architecture integrated airport checkpoint management system based on conventional screening technology.

Micro-X will also be supported by Monash University Design team and The Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) of the US, which will guide the security and safety requirements of the system.

The project will be managed in Seattle within a newly created, independent, Micro-X Business Unit led by General Manager Dr Brian Gonzales.

“These DHS contracts are transformational for Micro-X and represents the culmination of many years of amazing work by Dr Gonzales and the team, in developing new concepts for improving x-ray imaging for aviation security,” said Rowland.

“It is also a tribute to Micro-X’s customer-centric design philosophy to be selected for this major new systems design and integration project.

“Every traveller has got airport security horror stories to tell and it is exciting that this innovative international team, led by Micro-X, is now positioned to improve future air travel for all stakeholders.”

Micro-X is defining the future of x-ray imaging.

Micro-X is the first company in the world to design and manufacture a mobile X-ray machine using NEX Technology. Their patented NEX Technology uses carbon nanotubes to create a more stable, yet smaller and lighter X-ray tube that now comes with a ‘Tubes for Life’ warranty.

The reliability of NEX Technology means Micro-X customers will enjoy the benefits from cutting-edge technology with the assurance of long-lasting tube performance.

The ‘Tubes for Life’ warranty is a non-transferrable warranty designed to cover the X-ray tube installed in each Micro-X mobile X-ray machine.

NEX Technology is a simple, non-glass-based electronic X-ray tube and enables Micro-X to produce a more stable, yet smaller and lighter X-ray tube which in turn reduces the weight, and size, of their mobile X-ray machines.

The first generation of these mobile X-rays machines are already used in over 31 countries worldwide.

For hospitals, the “Tubes for Life” warranty means peace of mind when choosing their next mobile X-ray machine knowing they can benefit from improved system availability and uptime.

At the 2021 RSNA Annual Meeting, Micro-X is presenting their latest models of their revolutionary mobile X-ray machine:

Micro-X is also offering their Rover mobile X-ray machine at the 2021 RSNA Annual Meeting, all with NEX Technology inside.

Charlie Hicks, General Manager Mobile DR says, “Micro-X is defining the future of X-ray imaging, similar to how LED’s have replaced traditional glass filament light bulbs, I truly believe that NEX technology is the future of X-ray imaging.  We are so confident in the reliability and performance of this new tube technology that we are willing to back it with  our incredible Tubes for Life warranty.”

Meet PICO, NEO and Charlie at the Micro-X stand, South Hall, stand #4517 during the RSNA Annual Meeting or go to www.micro-x.com/rsna2021 for more information.

Download the press release (word doc)

Press Contact:

Tennille Reed, Strategic Marketing Manager, Micro-X, treed@micro-x.com, 0428 271 243