SBIR Phase I: Cost-Effective Compact Dental MRI Scanner
This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project relies on a novel and surprising physiological phenomenon recently published by the company and its academic collaborators: That magnetic gradient fields used in MRI can be dramatically increased without causing unpleasant nerve stimulation, if the rise- and fall-times of the gradient pulse are kept below 10 microseconds. This physiological principle can be used to advantage in dental MRI, where the magnetization decay in bone is so short that conventional MRI pulse sequences are of limited use, and where high gradients can yield improved spatial resolution with reduced artifacts from metallic materials (e.g., orthodontics). The small field-of-view required for dental MRI suggests that it will be possible to develop of a low-cost system (i.e.,<$20,000) that will compete effectively with conventional x-ray based technologies. Introduction of this device will reduce the cumulative x-ray dose delivered to the American population, which has been shown to contribute to increase the incidence of certain cancers. Phase I of the project will consist of construction of a prototype system, with comparable diagnostic performance to x-ray-based dental imaging, evaluated on cadaveric human teeth. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project will be multi-fold: It will help reverse the trend of constructing ever-larger diagnostic imaging devices, which contributes to high overall health care costs in the USA. The increase in cost of imaging systems is driven by several factors: (1) It is more profitable for the few companies who sell capital medical equipment to sell an expensive system than a low-cost system, and (2) radiologists, who represent the traditional customer for the vendors of MRI systems, are trained on systems that can examine all parts of the human body. The company proposes a contrarian approach, in which a cost-effective device serves the needs of cost-sensitive specialists (i.e., dentists). The company?s staff has extensive experience in marketing organ-specific systems, having sold breast imaging devices that reduced the need for expensive MRI studies. The significant marketing advantage of reduced pediatric exposure ionizing radiation will accelerate penetration into the $30 billion global dental marketplace. Finally, the ultra-fast pulse sequences to be developed in this project are likely to be helpful in other scientific investigations of solid-state phenomena, such as electron paramagnetic resonance imaging.
Small Business Information at Submission:
Weinberg Medical Physics LLC
5611 Roosevelt Street Bethesda, MD 20817-6739
Number of Employees: