X-ray imaging has existed for more than 120 years, but a Canada-based start-up, KA Imaging Inc, is trying to be a game changer for the long-established market. With the world's first portable dual-energy detector, the company aims to revolutionize the X-ray market and realize its vision of "Innovative X-ray everywhere".
"It's the first time that X-ray imaging technology has achieved such a significant advance," Amol Karnick, CEO of KA Imaging, said.
He explained that dual-energy X-ray works with two different types of energies inside the X-ray: one that is good at highlighting the soft tissue, and another that is good for the bones. By recovering some of the spectral information that is lost in conventional radiography, the radiologist can access two extra images: bone and soft tissue.
Though dual-energy imaging is not new, the existing technology has an intrinsic problem: motion artifacts. "Our engineers were able to solve the problem by creating a unique triple-layered detector, allowing the spectral separation to take place inside the detector. Therefore, we only use one X-ray exposure to achieve dual-energy X-ray with no motion artifact."
"Another important thing is that the detector was designed with a universal standard size, so that it can be used in any existing X-ray system, whether fixed, portable, or mobile," Karnick said.
With these breakthroughs, KA Imaging has made portable, affordable, and more accurate X-ray machines possible.
The company's product, Reveal 35C, has been approved by the United Stated and Canada. There are currently two clinical trials being conducted in Canada: one for lung cancer and one for detecting pneumonia (including COVID-19), both with promising initial results.
"For patients who cannot be moved, Reveal can provide essential care diagnostics. Three images allow doctors with varying abilities to make quick and accurate diagnoses," Karnick explained. "In addition, the detector can make a difference in rural or remote areas where the population does not have access to CTs. Studies also show that the high sensitivity of dual energy can detect many diseases earlier, allowing better outcomes for both patients and hospitals."
KA Imaging is now partnering with key opinion leaders in clinical trials for different clinical use cases to present proven results of its technology. Meanwhile, in order to expand the market, it provides a flexible business model of Hardware as a Service in addition to capital purchase with service.
With more than 21 million X-ray scans performed every year in Taiwan, the company is now looking for opportunities here. "Taiwan's install base is similar to that of Canada, and Taiwan is also a center of cutting-edge medical technology, so absorbing Reveal 35C as part of its system is only natural. One of KA imaging's current investors and our manufacturer is Innolux, a Taiwanese company. KA has established a strong relationship to Taiwan."
"The applications are many. For example, statistics show pneumonia as the second leading cause of deaths in Taiwan, a case study for dual energy that is already proven," said he. "We are seeking distributors and clinical partners, hoping to contribute to improving quality of care for the Taiwanese population."
Canada-based startup KA Imaging CEO, Amol Karnick