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Innovative Adelaide-based manufacturer Micro-X has received AU$8m funding to develop a game-changing portable brain scanner from the Australian Government’s Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF).

The scanner is expected to revolutionise stroke care Рit will be small enough to be placed in ambulances or Royal Flying Doctor Service aircraft and will give more Australians rapid access to treatment in the crucial first “golden hour” after a stroke.

Development of the new scanner is centred around Micro-X’s patented carbon nanotube (CNT) emitter technology, developed with assistance from ANFF-SA, ANFF Optofab, Flinders University, the University of Adelaide, and the University of South Australia.

The company’s emitters do away with the need for bulky heat sinks by using advanced materials that result in far less waste heat being produced when generating x-rays. The resulting systems are therefore able to be far more portable and much smaller than traditional scanners, allowing them to be taken out of hospitals and into the field.

Portability provides greater opportunity to quickly identify whether a patient has suffered a stroke – the ability to diagnose and start treating strokes within the first hour significantly increases the chance of a patient surviving and avoiding long-term brain damage. This could prove pivotal for the rural and remote Australians who are twice as likely as city stroke survivors to be left with a serious, lifelong disability.

Micro-X will receive $8 million to develop the portable scanner using their unique technology. It’s part of a $40 million pool provided to the Australian Stroke Alliance (ASA) under the MRFF initiative. The ASA is using the funding to launch a five-year program that will lay the foundations for a national and equitable approach to the treatment of stroke.

“We are excited to be at the forefront in developing technology which has the potential to radically transform health care for all Australians,” Micro-X Managing Director Peter Rowland said.

“This unique collaboration puts Australia and the Australian Stroke Alliance at the forefront of global best practice in stroke care which may be adopted as the new standard for stroke diagnosis.”

The Frontier Health and Medical Research Initiative allows researcher collaborations to explore bold and exciting ideas that could have a dramatic, global impact on health care.

Read more on ANFF’s work with Micro-X here.

Read the original release here.