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A Stroke Of Genius

March 15, 2017

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Professor David Heatley, the co-founder and Chief Scientist of Scannerfutures, one the technology companies in the Innovation Martlesham cluster at Adastral Park, was the speaker at a recent event organised by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and hosted by the University of Suffolk.  The venue was the new Ipswich Waterfront Innovation Centre (IWIC): a £6m facility on the University of Suffolk campus containing a broad range of state-of-art lecture rooms and laboratory facilities.  The IWIC also functions as a focal point for developing new entrepreneurs and ICT businesses by providing networking and collaborative opportunities.

David’s presentation, entitled “A stroke of genius – recent technology innovations in scanning and diagnosing a stroke”, outlined the current state-of-art in detecting and diagnosing whether a patient has experienced a stroke.  Development programmes are underway in companies and research organisations across the world, all aimed at improving the outlook for stroke patients by reducing the time between the onset of their stroke and initial treatment being administered.  David’s company Scannerfutures is developing a new medical scanner for this purpose that is highly differentiated from the other development programmes.

Strokes are the 4th highest cause of death in the UK and for those who survive it’s the highest cause of long term disability.  Some 100,000 people in the UK experience a stroke each year.  Strokes cost the UK economy ~£9bn each year due to the high cost of hospitalisation, rehabilitation, social care and lost productivity in the work place.  One of the most critical factors that determines the outcome for people who experience a stroke is the time between the onset of their stroke and treatment being administered.  People who receive treatment within the first hour, known as the golden hour, stand the greatest chance of recovery and minimal long term disability.  However, achieving that target is very challenging because of the time it takes for the ambulance organisation to respond to the emergency call, arrive on scene, assess and stabilise the patient, transport the patient to hospital, wait to be scanned, be diagnosed then eventually treated.  For many patients this delay can amount to a few hours by which time their outlook is greatly reduced.  The key to improving this is finding ways to reduce the time between the onset of the stroke and treatment being administered. 

This is the challenge being addressed by Scannerfutures in their development programme, which is receiving grant funding from Innovate UK and other sources to develop their highly novel solution.   

Scannerfutures is currently part of IM’s Business Incubator which supports entrepreneurs and early start-ups.  Click here to learn more about the Incubator and the cluster of high-tech companies – Innovation Martlesham.

 



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