A Cleveland Clinic-backed XR medical visualization startup, MediView XR, Inc., has launched with $4.5 million in funding. The company uses the HoloLens and their custom software to help doctors visualize patient anatomy, and anchor it precisely on their body, giving the doctor, in essence, x-ray specs. The fundamental holographic visualization technology was initially developed at the Lerner Research Institute at the Cleveland Clinic to help surgeons better visualize and plan for the face transplant. Karl West led the team, using a HoloLens to create 3D holographic representations of the donor’s skull and other anatomy to assess and refine their surgical plans. Jeffrey Yanof, PhD, created the software.
Drs. West and Yanof, integrated four overlapping technologies to create a comprehensive AR Surgical Navigation Platform. (1) An anatomic CR/MRI registration, which anchors a patient’s own CT or MRI, so the surgeon can see beneath the skin and identify critical anatomy and risk structures around a cancerous lesion; (2) Preoperative Plan with Inter operative Display lets the physician actually plan their trajectory with the light ray tool targeting the tumor during the procedure; (3) Intraoperative Tool Tracking tracks the surgeon’s tools throughout the procedure, turning them into holographic images; and (4) A Real-Time Holographic Ultrasound Overlay to provide comprehensive and accurate guidance the surgeon is able to see all of the MediView system capabilities synchronized together in real-time 3D as they move around the patient in the surgical suite.
The company’s initial application is transforming percutaneous procedures by harnessing the power of Mixed Reality and Artificial Intelligence to improve acute and chronic patient outcomes. While there are other companies taking different approaches to using AR for real-time, anchored, “X-ray vision,” the approach of MediView is unique, because it uses CT scans to register to a patient, but then uses ultrasound to locate and build 3D images of tumors and the organs around them using the spatial computing capabilities of the HoloLens. This has important advantages over the old system, which presented deadly threats to clinicians. The risk of extended radiation exposure can be measured and is well known. One or the events that spurred Dr. West to create MediView was the death of his friend Dr. Roy Greenberg, who succumbed to cancer very possibly as a direct result of his work as a surgeon.
MediView XR helps reduce risk to surgeons’ own lives by reducing the need for high doses of radiation from CT scanners and other X-ray imaging equipment typically used to “see” tumors. “If you stand in the X-ray beam long enough you are going to get irradiated,” said Dr. West. “There are surgeons going blind and others have developed cancers due to their continued exposure to X-Rays.”
CEO John Black says MediView is like a “missile guidance system” for surgeons, helping surgeons to plan for, locate and navigate to cancerous tumors. Black told me that by trade he is a physiologist who has worked in the medical device industry most of his career. “I was working as the regional vice president of clinical sales at Orthofix when I first saw the technology and instantly saw the future transformation of surgical procedures. From that point, I applied for grants and used personal earnings to bootstrap the company. We all feel this is a project that truly has dignity.”
One of the groups that financed the company, Inside View Investments, LLC, was formed over a dinner that was to be a friends and family round presentation. “At the time, our group was attempting to raise $1 million in convertible debt,” said Black. “We met at Logan’s Irish pub and within twenty minutes nearly every person in the Irish Pub was having their first experience with Augmented Reality. Scott Malaney, CEO of Blanchard Valley Health System in Findlay, OH, pulled me to the side and asked, ‘How much do you need to get a clear runway for meaningful development in the surgical setting?’ In one hour, the team had raised $4 million. Plug and Play Ventures also joined the round. Last week, the Northwest Ohio Tech Fund, which is comprised of Promedica Health System, Mercy Health System, Bowling Green State University and the University of Toledo, invested an additional $500,000.”
“Our current use of funds is to first focus on voice of customer, the surgeon,” says Black. “The end product has to have the full scope of ease of use and clinical utility from only the surgeon point of view. These funds allow us to scale to 12 full-time staff members at MediView and outsource all regulatory activities to Jalex Medical. We believe that with these funds we can reach FDA approval. Our first goal is soft tissue ablation and biopsy, and bone tumor ablation and biopsy. Next, our platform will expand into pediatric deformity correction, orthopedics and neurosurgery.”
A Cleveland Clinic Internal Review Board approved nine-patient human evaluation this month that expands application into Kidney, Bone, Lung and other soft tissue applications.
Mina Fahim, a research development engineer for Medtronic and St. Jude Medical, and Greg Miller, former CIO/COO of CentraComm, will be joining MediView as CTO and CIO, respectively, in October.