Gothenburg-based Medfield Diagnostics is a startup company that develops microwave-based diagnostic instruments for healthcare. Prevas developed instruments and software in order to distinguish different types of strokes, and where a diagnosis with microwaves can offer more effective treatment.
Assignment: System Delivery. Prevas developed instruments and software
A stroke that causes a cerebral hemorrhage requires one type of medical treatment, whereas a blood clot in the brain requires a completely different treatment. The problem physicians face is in choosing the right type of measure. For example, prescribing an anticoagulant for a cerebral hemorrhage can worsen the person’s condition and even be life-threatening. Making the right diagnosis as early as possible is extremely important. Fast and correct treatment reduces the risk of the patient losing speech and mobility.
Medfield Diagnostics was founded in 2005. Operations are based on a research project that has been going on for several years at Chalmers University of Technology. The project works with a method that uses microwaves to make an image of soft body parts. The microwaves do not behave in the same manner as x-rays; rather, they spread in all directions, which means that measurement is made in a number of directions. The measurement results are then analyzed with Medfield Diagnostic’s own algorithms (patent pending). The hope is that microwave tomography can be used to make the right diagnosis.
Patrik Dahlqvist, CEO of Medfield Diagnostics, says that their development plans can be described as a three-step rocket. The first product, which was produced in cooperation with Prevas and National Instruments, is a research instrument for clinical tests within stroke research. The product is called Medfield Strokefinder R10, and it will primarily be used for clinical tests. Researchers will be able to test different types of stroke-related measurements to verify and analyze the possibilities afforded by microwave technology, as well as study how the technology behaves in relation to other diagnostic methods. The instrument should be available for use in hospitals in about three years, and the technology will be able to monitor and send an alarm. From a more long-term perspective, perhaps 5-6 years, it is believed that an instrument can be produced for use in ambulances, to enable early determination of stroke type.
Having a development partner such as Prevas was especially important for Medfield Diagnostics, which is financed by risk capital. The partnership meant quick product development, low development costs and a flexible, module-structured solution, that is also suitable for other applications, concludes Patrik Dahlqvist.
The equipment consists of measurement equipment and a helmet that the patient wears. The equipment uses microwaves to examine the brain. There are antennas in the helmet that, together with the measurement equipment, act as transmitters and receivers. The microwaves are sent into the brain from various angles. The antennas work in the same frequency area as regular cell phones, but the effect is very low, just around four percent of the strength of a regular mobile antenna.
Prevas supplied measurement equipment consisting of a PXI system1) with a number of modules as well as the software that performs the measurements.
“When Medfield Diagnostics contacted us over a year ago, there was no existing commercial solution in place to suit their application,” says Hans Nyström from Prevas. He continues:
“As a Gold Alliance Partner of National Instruments, we cooperate when it comes to both sales and development. This means that, together, we can find new solutions based on commercial products. In this case, a compact PXI-based network analyzer, which at the time of development was not available as a commercial product, but could be made available to Medfield Diagnostics through our cooperation.”
National Instrument’s network analyzer is extremely compact and processes data in real time. This is exactly what Medfield Diagnostics needed for the measurement system. As a result of Prevas’ cooperation with National Instruments, the first system was delivered to Medfield Diagnostics before the product was formally launched.
“The greatest advantage of the solution we produced for Medfield Diagnostics is that it is based on finished modules, both hardware and software. This minimizes development time at the same time that equipment can easily be rebuilt or modified for new needs that arise. Our development also becomes very effective as a result of using the LabVIEW2) graphic environment. This leads to great savings for the customer in terms of both time and money,” says Hans Nyström.
Do you want to know more about this project or find out what Prevas can do for you, please contact us.
Ylva Amrén, Region Manager West, e-mail