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Siemens Healthineers and KinetiCor present jointly developed MRI technologies for real-time motion correction

  • In-bore camera system supports BioMatrix technology to deliver consistent image quality, independent of patient motion
  • Joint solution allows more informed treatment decision making and paves the way for precision medicine

Siemens Healthineers and KinetiCor present at the 26th Annual Meeting of the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM) in Paris (June 16 – 21, 2018) the joint results of their strategic agreement to co-develop technologies for patient monitoring and correction of patient motion in MRI exams. The strategic collaboration of both companies involves the joint development of an MRI in-bore camera system to expand precision medicine. The Kinetic Sensor, an integral part and one of the key features of Siemens Healthineers BioMatrix technology and of the new 1.5 Tesla MRI scanner Magnetom Sola and of the 3T Magnetom Vida system, is the first ever in-bore, real-time patient viewing system, allowing close patient monitoring and prospective motion correction for neurological MRI exams.

A successful MRI exam requires a patient to stay still. Patient motion, however, can result in non-diagnostic exams, requiring rescans or in the worst case having to reschedule the exam. For certain patients, such as young children and adults who have trouble staying still due to pain, trauma and/or cognitive difficulties, sedation may be required for a successful MRI exam. For these reasons, patient motion is a known and costly factor in MRI. The new in-bore camera system helps to significantly reduce motion-related artifacts in MR imaging, enabling diagnostic imaging in the presence of motion, and may help reduce the need for sedation for children and adults who are less able to stay still in the MRI scanner. The sensor employs a 4-camera system which tracks every movement of the patient’s head in the scanner. The camera has an ultra-slim profile, shaped to the bore of the Magnetom Sola and Magnetom Vida MRI systems. Real-time motion information from KinetiCor’s camera, used in combination with Siemens Healthineers MR pulse sequences with integrated prospective motion correction technologies, enables the imaging to continually adapt to the patient’s movements. The resulting product, the new BioMatrix Kinetic Sensor on the latest scanner generation of Siemens Healthineers, helps deliver standardized, high-quality MRI examinations that support clinical users on their way to delivering precision medicine.

Jeffrey Yu, MD, Chief Executive Officer at KinetiCor, expressed excitement about the strategic agreement with Siemens Healthineers and what this will mean for the future of MR imaging. “KinetiCor is delighted with the successful collaboration with Siemens Healthineers as one of the leading MR manufacturers. Together, we will jointly bring the first real-time patient monitoring and advanced prospective motion correction system to the market. The KinetiCor system increases diagnostic quality, is able to reduce rescans, and to improve patient comfort while improving workflow efficiency and patient throughput,” he concluded.

“Working closely with our valued partners, we were once again able to demonstrate our role as a leading innovator in the field of magnetic resonance imaging,” stated Dr. Christoph Zindel, Head of Magnetic Resonance Imaging at Siemens Healthineers. “We are very pleased that KinetiCor’s path breaking in-bore camera and motion-correction technologies are becoming an integral part of Siemens Healthineers BioMatrix technology – allowing for automatic adaptation to each and every patient. With our BioMatrix technology our customers are able to decrease rescans and to cut healthcare costs by reducing unwarranted variations. With this, we continously expand precision medicine,” said Zindel.

Hawaii Diagnostic Radiology Services, USA, is one of several sites where the Kinetic Sensor is currently employed for research purposes. According to Marshall Miyoshi, HDRS Chief Operating Officer, “the Kinetic Sensor, unlike current motion correction techniques, uses an innovative approach to track motion and correct it in real time. This produces a dramatic improvement in image quality, reducing motion artifacts and providing clearer visualization of the brain with negligible impact on MR technician workflows.”

The products/features (here mentioned) are not commercially available in all countries. Due to regulatory reasons their future availability cannot be guaranteed.

Kawin Setsompop, PhD joins the KinetiCor Advisory Board

Dr. Kawin Setsompop has become a member of the KinetiCor Advisory Board. Dr. Setsompop is an Associate Professor in Radiology at Harvard Medical School and an Affiliated Faculty member at Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology (HST). He received his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT. 

Over the last decade, Dr. Setsompop has pioneered the development of a number of MRI acquisition technologies, including parallel transmission and simultaneous multi-slice imaging. In particular, his blipped-CAIPI technology has been distributed to more than 200 research and clinical sites and is now a clinical product on MRI scanners worldwide. His technology is changing how diffusion, perfusion, and functional MRI are being performed today.

Robert Herfkens, MD joins the KinetiCor Advisory Board

Dr. Robert Herfkens, Professor of Radiology and Associate Chair for Clinical Technology in Radiology at Stanford University, has joined the KinetiCor Advisory Board.

Dr. Herfkens received his MD degree from Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine. He underwent residency and fellowship training in Radiology and Nuclear Medicine at University of California San Francisco (UCSF) and is currently director of MRI at Stanford University. His research interests include fundamentals of MR imaging and cardiovascular imaging. He has published over 250 scientific publications,  has served on multiple editorial boards, and is past president of the International Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM).  

UH, Queen’s backing MRI startup

KinetiCor’s technology designed to compensate for movement during scans

Pacific Business News, March 20, 2013

A startup called KinetiCor Inc., which is getting seed capital and management expertise from the University of HawaiiManoa, among others, is trying to commercialize a technology designed to bring clarity to the magnetic resonance images generated in hospitals to diagnose a range of conditions. If successful, the company could earn tens of millions of dollars for UH and help President M.R.C. Greenwood gain momentum for the university’s technology transfer program.

KinetiCor’s developers include Dr. Jeffrey Yu, its president and CEO as well as a consultant to The Queen’s Health Systems;Dr. Thomas Ernst, professor and inventor at the John A. Burns School of Medicine; Will Alameida, its chief operating officer and a technology transfer veteran; and, Barry Weinman, its chairman and the founding partner of Allegis Capital, a $700 million Silicon Valley venture capital fund.

Company officials would not disclose a potential value for KinetiCor, but Yu said $2 billion worth of MRIs must be redone every year because of poor image quality due to patient movement. The company is using hardware and software that compensates for body movement during an MRI scan.

KinetiCor’s state-of-the-art motion correction technology will become an integral part of MRI scanners sold globally, if all goes according to plan, creating substantial revenue growth opportunities for the company, a royalty stream to the University of Hawaii and a nice return for investors, said Alameida.

KinetiCor executed a definitive agreement with UH for exclusive patent rights to intellectual property developed during a span of five years by these researchers in the field of prospective motion correction MR imaging.

Also included in the multicenter research initiative and license agreement are the Medical College of Wisconsin, The Queen’s Medical Center and the Research Foundation at University of Wisconsin Milwaukee.

Investors in the company include Queen’s, Hawaii Medical Service Association, or HMSA, and the Upside Fund, a venture capital fund managed by the UH Foundation in conjunction with the Hawaii Strategic Development Corp. and the Research Corporation of the University of Hawaii.

The research is currently being done at Queen’s in collaboration with UH, Mainland and German researchers and scientists.

“We are taking this technology from Hawaii to the Mainland and elsewhere,” said Yu. “We are selling to research institutions around the globe and working on the commercial product.”

Ernst told PBN that KinetiCor has not yet been cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which is part of the commercialization process.

“We expect that the FDA process will take up to two years,” Yu said. “Research institutions may use it for research studies, but for regular clinical use it needs FDA clearance.”

Once it receives clearance from the FDA, Yu said KinetiCor officials believe that the technology has the potential to be utilized by every MRI scanner in the world.

Although a production facility for KinetiCor is unlikely to be located in Hawaii, Alameida says that it would be reasonable to open an office to house engineers, administration and support staff of dozens of people in its maturity.

KinetiCor’s technology, which costs about $150,000 for one unit at the research level, would be sold through MRI vendors such as Siemens.

“What’s really important is to get Hawaii technology out into the marketplace,” Yu said. “I think that UH and Queen’s developed some great technology, but we are not as good as the premier Mainland institutions at commercializing the technology.”

UH isn’t the only one that will benefit if KinetiCor is successful.

“The profits of the company go back to the investors, such as HMSA, UH and Queen’s, and they can use those profits for things that are good for Hawaii,” Yu said.

Art Ushijima, president and CEO of The Queen’s Health Systems, told PBN in an email through a spokeswoman that KinetiCor represents a breakthrough in MRI technology.

“Queen’s is pleased to have played an important role in developing this new technology, which will eventually have global benefit to patient care,” he said. “KinetiCor capitalizes on intellectual property resulting from investments in public-private research partnerships.”

Meanwhile, Steve Van Ribbink, chief financial and services officer for HMSA, told PBN in an email through a spokeswoman that its members deserve quality care at an affordable cost, and KinetiCor could provide the company with an opportunity to give them both.

“This technology will make MRIs available to more of our members, and it will help save money by reducing the need for multiple procedures,” he said. “We’re proud that Hawaii is making advances in the health-care industry that will benefit the people of Hawaii and people throughout the country.”

Greenwood has made improving tech transfer and research initiatives at the university a priority.

To that end, she has set an ambitious goal to more than double the UH system’s outside research funding from the current level of less than $500 million to $1 billion per year by 2022. Her plans include hiring or developing 50 top scientists during the next decade.

“We are still working hard on doing this,” she told PBN. “We do need to improve not only our declaration of our technology but also how we are going to manage to move things out.”

A key part of this effort is the hiring of a vice president for research and innovation, who should be in place by July 1.

“Then it will be [this person’s] responsibility to ensure we have a real serious connection to commercialization,” Greenwood said. “What we’re trying to do is build a research industry.”

She is open about the fact that 2012, which was supposed to have been a big year for building UH’s research capacity, was not productive mainly because of issues that consumed the university’s time, including dealing with the aftermath of the Stevie Wonderconcert scam that was designed as a fundraiser for the athletics department.

But there were small improvements in tech transfer.

Last year, the university received 53 confidential documents from companies known as “invention disclosures,” compared to 39 in 2011. Four U.S. patents were issued in 2012, up from two in 2011. However, license/option agreements executed by UH dropped to four in 2012, from nine in 2011.

Besides KinetiCor, UH research has been able to spin off startups such as Ala Wai Pharma Inc., which is in the process of creating a new delivery system for the flu remedy Relenza.

The technology is not licensed to Ala Wai Pharma, according to a JABSOM spokeswoman.

UH and JABSOM have equity stakes in the flu delivery system company, which is pursuing animal studies and gearing up for more advanced clinical trials as well as continuing the patent process, which takes a long time.

“They’re in the early stages of getting that done,” the JABSOM spokeswoman said.

Companies such as KinetiCor and Ala Wai Pharma are examples of how UH’s research can help build a bigger research industry in Hawaii, Greenwood said.

“We believe that UH is uniquely qualified to build a bigger research industry [in Hawaii, and] we are hoping as we do that there will be more commercialization,” she said.

Duane Shimogawa covers energy, real estate and economic development for Pacific Business News.

KinetiCor Featured in University of Hawaii News

Revolutionary MRI technology developed by UH

March 14, 2013

Thomas Ernst, a professor and physicist from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa John A. Burns School of Medicine, has developed a revolutionary new system in magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI. A breakthrough so significant, it will probably be found in just about every hospital in the United States one day.

That’s the hope for a new local company called KinetiCor Inc. that’s commercializing the technology. The biggest challenge with an MRI is patient motion.

“You got to lie still for 45 minutes in a tube essentially and those small or large motions can compromise the image,” said Dr. Jeffrey Yu, the president and CEO of KinetiCor. “It is very similar when you take a picture. You don’t want the camera or people moving because it blurs the shot.”

The blurry, unusable images from such an expensive procedure rack up healthcare cost in the hundreds of billions of dollars each year. Often times, patients, like small children, have to be sedated. Ernst and fellow researchers came up with a solution—prospective motion correction.

“The idea is really that we track the movement of the head in real time and then apply corrections to the scanner so that the images show no blurring basically,” said Ernst.

The key is a small marker that is applied to the forehead of the patient, which is then tracked by a camera in the imaging machine.

“The corrections are very fast and they are very highly accurate,” said Ernst. “You can actually see people breathe when they are in the scanner.”

Funding to commercialize the new technology came from the University of Hawaiʻi’s Upside Venture Fund, HMSA and the Queen’s Development Corporation, equity investors in KinetiCor.

It’s an example of how research can attract investment. Developing Hawaiʻi’s research industry, specifically research done by UH and its partners like Queen’s Medical Center in this case, can play a significant role in Hawaiʻi’s economic future. That’s the mission of the University of Hawaiʻi Innovation Initiative, or Hi Squared.

“If we could do that, then more researchers would be interested in coming here, the researchers who are here get to see their technology being applied and helping people,” said Yu. “Then the money that comes in for the commercialization effort can go to fund additional research work.”

Ernst is anxious to see his prospective motion correction technology become an every day reality.

“So that ultimately the patients and children, let’s say that are in the scanners and can’t hold still, that they are the ones that ultimately benefit from all of this,” said Ernst.

The project was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse over the past 6 years, at a total cost of approximately $3.5 million.

Read the University of Hawaiʻi’s HI² news release for more information.

New technology at UH Manoa could change the future of MRIs

New technology at UH Manoa could change the future of MRIs

Posted: Mar 12, 2013 1:11 PM HSTUpdated: Mar 12, 2013 1:11 PM HST

MANOA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) –By Jade StormsA groundbreaking discovery at UH Manoa School of Medicine could change the future of MRI scanning.An early stage medical device company currently focused on motion correction technologies for Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) announced the completion of a $700,000 first round of venture financing and the resulting formal launch of KinetiCor Inc.

KinetiCor is focused on commercializing its state-of-the-art motion correction technology for MRI, invented by Thomas Ernst, a physicist at the University of Hawaii at Manoa John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM). This breakthrough technology enables remarkably accurate scans with correction of motion that could be a subtle as normal breathing.

“It takes about five to ten minutes to acquire one single scan of the brain,” Ernst said. “So if you just move a very small amount, the images get blurry.”

The new technology involves a marker that is placed on the patient’s forehead and allows the imaging to track and adjust to the patient’s movements. This is particularly useful for patients who have a hard time controlling their movement during a scan, such as children, the elderly, and those with head trauma, dementia, Parkinson’s disease and brain tumors.

“What our technology does, is it basically allows the MR scanner to track along with you while you, as a patient, are moving within a scanner and eliminates the blurring that occurs in the images,” said Dr. Jeffery Yu, CEO of KinetiCor.

Today, patients who move during MRI usually have to be sedated or have to repeat scans, but this technology could reduce the need for all of that.

“You know, in children, they have to undergo sedation, a lot of times to hold still enough,” Yu explained. “We can reduce or even get rid of the need for sedation.”

Yu said they are proud to have the support of the three premier Hawaii institutions, which include the University of Hawaii Foundation’s Upside Fund, the Hawaii Medical Service Association and the Queen’s Development Corporation, as equity investors in KinetiCor.

“We believe KinetiCor has harnessed a game-changing technology that can revolutionize the way MRIs are performed and will allow for consistent quality,” Yu said.

KinetiCor has achieved early sales traction of its highly advanced prospective motion correction research prototypes at leading magnetic resonance research centers, including the University of Minnesota’s Center for Magnetic Resonance Imaging, and Washington University in Saint Louis, in support of these institutions affiliation with the National Institute of Health Human Connectome Project.

Barry Weinman, University of Hawaii Foundation Upside Fund Managing Director, said that the UH Foundation Upside Fund was intrigued by KinetiCor, not only for its extraordinary technology, but because of the financial upside that could be achieved by commercializing UH’s intellectual property.

“More than $2 billion globally a year is wasted by having to re-do MRI scans because the patient moves and blurs the images,” Weinman said. “Dr. Ernst and the JABSOM Neuroscience and Magnetic Research team, in collaboration with two other universities, have solved the problem of blurry images. This will not only save significant money but will enable MRI machines to be able to diagnose conditions that they can’t today.”

The company’s technology is currently for research purposes only and has not been cleared by the FDA for clinical use, but Yu is hopeful that this will get into the market within the next decade