NIH awards $228,325 to Tech Startup to Develop MRI Device for Improved Diagnosis

NIH awards $228,325 to Tech Startup to Develop MRI Device for Improved Diagnosis

A startup developing a device for more affordable and efficient magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans was recently awarded a Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant from the National Institutes of Health.

MR-Link, a technology company affiliated with Purdue University, will receive $228,325 to develop the device. Researchers say it will provide better imaging and promises to improve the diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease and other imaging-diagnosed diseases, while lowering costs and reducing health risks.

“This grant is validation for us that our idea is on the right track and there is a need for these kind of technologies that may help researchers to understand human physiology more accurately,” Ranajay Mandal, one of three MR-Link co-founders and a graduate student at Purdue University’s Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering, said in a press release.

Designed to be inserted into an existing MRI machine, the coin-sized device is synchronized with the MRI system to perform multiple scans at once, allowing researchers to record, stimulate, and image the brain and other organs. By incorporating electro-physiological signals from several organs, the new device promises to more effectively provide insight on a patient’s physiology.

STTR is a highly competitive program that awards federal funding to small businesses and nonprofit institutions to support scientific and technological innovation, and increase private sector commercialization of these innovations.

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Out of more than 1,000 applications received from startups throughout the U.S. for Phase 1 STTR grants, only 169 were funded. MR-Link is the only one to receive funding from the state of Indiana, out of 32 that applied.

“We will use this funding to further develop our device and software into a user-friendly system, so that MR-Link can begin to distribute its beta testing units to MRI researchers,” said co-founder Nishant Babaria, a graduate student at the Purdue School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. “We hope to also use the money to enrich our research team with new professionals to help us package the software and hardware.”

MR-Link is reaching out to research facilities first before moving into the clinical market.

“We are open to partnerships with other laboratories and device manufacturers so we could soon deliver devices to more people and to benefit their research and to hopefully soon deliver to clinicians for them to better treat patients,” said co-founder Zhongming Liu, PhD, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering and biomedical engineering at Purdue.

The researchers are presenting the device at the upcoming International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, June 16-21, 2018, in Paris.

MR-Link is opening offices in the Purdue Research Park in West Lafayette, Indiana, the largest university-affiliated business incubation complex in the country.

13 comments

    • Karen Jeffery says:

      No. A Dat Scan is a Nuclear Medicine exam to help diagnose Parkinson’s disease. It involves an injection in the vein of your arm of a radioactive material that will travel to the areas of the
      Brain where dopamine transporters are located. After a few hours, the patient is scanned on a Nuclear medicine camera that detects the radioactivity. The areas of the brain that are missing the isotope can help your doctor diagnose Parkinson’s.

    • margaret Livingston says:

      My husband was told he had Parkinson about 7 years ago. Has all the symptoms. Had a dat scan at UAB Birmingham, AL. He does not have Parkinson according to the dat scan.

  1. Helen says:

    About time. Where and when available. Hope it will be everwhere, including Greensboro, NC

    It’s time for some good news for people with Parkinson’s

    Happy to hear good news for a change.

  2. Beth D Lucas says:

    This can’t be the DAT scan, can it? I hope not. The neurologist I went to for five years sent me to a hospital which had just gotten the DAT scan equipment and I had it done. The neurologist told me the DAT scan would tell us positively whether I had Parkinson’s or not. The next day he received a call telling him I DID NOT HAVE PARKINSON’S. At that point he told me he did not know what else to do with me. So he referred me to a Movement Disorder Specialist in a teaching hospital thankfully only an hour away. He spent well over an hour with me and my DIL. Long story short, he told us without a doubt I have Parkinson’s as well as Dysautonomia. He has been treating me almost 1-1/2 years. I only wish I had met him sooner. When I went back over my symptoms on my personal calendars, I have had it well over six years at least.

    As for this MR-Link, it sounds very promising and I look forward to seeing an update soon on the progress.

  3. Gloria Pappagallo says:

    Can this MRI device help family members who have someone who had Parkinsons & died from it? Can it help to diagnose if the family member is predisposed to PD? Or any other helpful info like diagnose early stages if family members may have

  4. Mare Cole says:

    Would this be helpful for schizophrenia? It’s about time this brain disease gets some attention. It is not a “mental illness”
    It’s a brain diseasee being ignored to the point it’s a human rights issue.

  5. Dennis says:

    Hey NIH, How bout throwing some REAL money at this project from your 39 billion annual budget (2018). Am a 78 yr old with PD for 8 yrs. Response?

  6. Susan Schultz says:

    Are you looking for test subjects? I live in Bluffton, IN and am always looking for ways to help research Parkinson’s.

  7. BRENDA FORSEY says:

    HI I AM A 58 YEAR OLD WOWAN WHO HAS BEEN TOLD I HAVE PARINSONS ABOUT 4 YEARS AGO MY MEDS CONTROLL EVERYTHING FROM THE SHAKEING TO MY STUDDER STEPS BUT I AM NOT THE ONLY ONE THAT HAS THE BEENN TOLD THAT HAS THE DESEASE MY DAD HAD IT AND MY SISTER HAS IT SO NOW THE QUESTION IS IT A DEASESE THAT IS IN THE GENES OF THE FAMILY OR NOT

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