Washington University has formed Cephalogics LLC, an optical imaging company, with funding from Allied Minds, a pre-seed investment firm specializing in early stage university business ventures.
Cephalogics will develop a new high-density diffuse optical tomography system specifically geared to assess the functional status of the brains of infants during treatment in neonatal intensive care units.
Compared to infants born full-term, premature infants are particularly vulnerable to developing brain-related disabilities. Early detection of altered brain development and function is important for the care of preterm infants.
“If clinical testing proves our estimation of effectiveness, the new brain imaging system will aid in therapy and care of neonates in intensive care by indicating which areas of the brain are injured and by monitoring the brain’s response to interventions,” said inventor Joseph Culver, Ph.D., assistant professor of radiology.
Culver’s group has been working on the technology for three years.
Diffuse optical tomography is a new computational imaging approach that uses multiple light sources and detectors to create an image from light diffusion. The technology is noninvasive, mobile for easy bedside imaging and can continuously monitor brain blood volume and oxygenation.
“It has the potential to fill a ‘functional’ gap in the neurologic imaging repertoire currently available to neonatal clinicians,” Culver said.
Allied Minds initially is investing $500,000 to develop a prototype and begin preliminary testing.
More funding will follow as the technology progresses.