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iThera Medical team receives 2.3 million euros

The EU consortium led by iThera Medical is funded by the European Fast Track to Innovation programme. The aim is to advance the so-called MSOT technology.

Aufnahme des Darms im bildgebenden Verfahren
Imaging of the intestine using imaging techniques
Sebastian Kaulitzki - fotolia / ©SL

Among many other investors, the European Commission also believes in the technology of the Munich-based medical technology start-up iThera Medical. As part of the "Fast Track to Innovation" funding program, it is granting the start-up consortium 2.3 million euros for the further development of its laser light-based MSOT technology (Multispectral Optoacoustic Tomography). This is a system for the detection and treatment of inflammatory bowel diseases. The new money will be used to improve the sensitivity and effectiveness of the technology and to transfer the still young invention into routine diagnostics.

In addition to the Munich-based company, the team around the research project called EUPHORIA (Enhancing Ultrasound and PHOtoacoustics for Recognition of Intestinal Abnormalities) includes four other partners: IMASONIC from France - a leader in ultrasound detector technology, RAYFOS from Great Britain - a specialist in image processing software, Erlangen University Hospital from Germany - experienced in preclinical and clinical research into inflammatory bowel diseases, and Pintail Limited from Ireland - a communications company with a scientific focus.

The MSOT technology developed by iThera uses the so-called photoacoustic effect - the conversion of light energy into sound waves - to characterize, differentiate and convert different tissue types in the body into 3D images. In contrast to conventional imaging methods, concentrations and spatial distributions of certain biological marker molecules such as haemoglobin, melanin, water or lipids can be measured and displayed. Until now, such a diagnosis has often only been possible through invasive procedures such as endoscopies or biopsies. The advantages of the new MSOT technology are particularly evident in comparison with conventional methods. The method is non-invasive and can therefore be used more often, which intensifies, improves and makes the treatment more comfortable for the patients. While endoscopy can lead to intestinal injuries, MSOT technology focuses on light. "With EUPHORIA's resources, we can provide physicians and patients with a non-invasive and fast diagnostic tool that significantly improves quality and comfort of care," said Dr. Philipp Bell, commercial director of iThera Medical.

The start-up was supported from 2011 to 2013 by the GO-Bio-Initiative of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) with millions of euros in funding (read more). In 2014 iThera received the German Innovation Award.

More information about EUPHORIA can be found here


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