ALHI $28.9M MRFF Grant revolutionises lung function scanning
The Australian Lung Health Initiative (ALHI) has been granted $28.9 million in funding from the Australian Federal Government's Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) Frontier Health and Medical Research initiative, to be provided in tranches over the next five years, to achieve medical breakthroughs with the potential to impact on a global scale.
As a joint venture between 4DMedical, the University of Adelaide and the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI), this project will bring together world-leading scientists, physicists, engineers, medical researchers, respiratory physiologists, data scientists and manufacturers.
ALHI is a consortium of leading medical institutions established to deliver groundbreaking lung healthcare advancements. The funding provided by the MRFF Frontier initiative will be used by ALHI to progress the development of the world’s first dedicated lung function scanner, XVD ScannerTM, that will produce detailed lung information using an automated scanning process. XVD Scanners will be integrated with 4DMedical’s proprietary XV TechnologyTM, overcoming the limitations of existing diagnostics and imaging tools by providing low dose, contrast free rapid lung analysis for adults and children.
This support by the Australian Government, announced by Health Minister Greg Hunt, enables ALHI to continue research and development of XVD Scanners and extend the work done following ALHI’s successful MRFF Frontier Stage One funding in April 2019.
ALHI Chair Lusia Guthrie emphasised the potential of the ALHI project and its ability to drive significantly improved patient outcomes.
“This outcome reflects the research excellence and spirit of collaboration that permeates our alliance and has underpinned this joint success. I’d like to thank our collaborators at 4DMedical, the University of Adelaide and SAHMRI for their continuing contributions,'' she said.
“Delivering improved technology to diagnose and assess the lungs will have major benefits both on a local and global scale, such as enabling the most disenfranchised members of our community to receive this high-quality lung imaging technology.
“In particular, we are tremendously exited by the potential of XVD Scanners to provide faster, lower cost and safer lung analysis for both adults and children.”
More than seven million Australians and one billion people globally are impacted by lung disease, creating a global market opportunity for lung diagnostics of more than $40 billion per year.
“This project delivers ground-breaking lung scanners that are safe, rapid and easy to use,” said Dr Stephen Rodda, Executive Director for Innovation and Commercial Partnerships at The University of Adelaide.
“They enable detailed functional analysis for patients of any age, including filling the critical unmet need for sensitive lung health assessment for young children.
“Respiratory physiologists from University of Adelaide will lead preclinical verification of the new scanners at the National Imaging Facility node at SAHMRI.
“These dedicated XVD Scanners will be used by researchers from around Australia to study lung diseases and their treatments, also providing feedback to scanner development. This collaboration is a prime example of the University of Adelaide working in partnership with SAHMRI and industry to commercialise research.”
Executive Director of SAHMRI, Professor Steve Wesselingh, highlighted the transformative benefits of the project.
“Collaboration, innovation and impact on health care are in SAHMRI’s DNA,” he said.
“This project is a shining example of those values coming together to improve the health of the communities we work for.”
Development of XVD Scanners will continue with the first units expected to be deployed into Australian hospitals in early 2022. The commercialisation of first generation XVD Scanners is targeted for 2023.
The project’s Chief Investigator, Dr Andreas Fouras, thanked the Australian Government and Minister Hunt for recognising the potential of ALHI’s submission and the significant health and economic outcomes it offers.
“It is particularly timely for this project to come to fruition,” said Dr Fouras, who is also the founder and Chief Executive of 4DMedical.
“Never before has lung health been such a focus in the world, and we look forward to showcasing Australia’s excellent R&D capability in commercialising this vision. 4DMedical’s XV Technology is uniquely suited to diagnostic support and monitoring of patients with COVID-19 and has been cleared for that use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).”
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