Devices & Diagnostics

Breast imaging device company focuses on improving cancer detection

A company that has developed imaging technology with the goal of making it easier for doctors to detect breast cancer is using the follow-on funding it received from Ben Franklin Technology Partners earlier this week towards the preliminary phase of clinical trials. Real Time Tomography, a Villanova, Pennsylvania-based company, received $150,000 from “the Bens” after […]

A company that has developed imaging technology with the goal of making it easier for doctors to detect breast cancer is using the follow-on funding it received from Ben Franklin Technology Partners earlier this week towards the preliminary phase of clinical trials.

Real Time Tomography, a Villanova, Pennsylvania-based company, received $150,000 from “the Bens” after getting $200,000 from the Garber Venture Capital Fund, an MBA student-centric VC fund at the Penn State University’s Smeal College of Business, in May.

One of the challenges the company seeks to overcome is the relatively poor quality of 3D tomographic images with digital breast tomosynthesis when they are reconstructed from 2D projection images, said Susan Ng, the CEO of the company.

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“At the time of my research, reconstruction of a single patient dataset was taking several hours and image quality was very poor. In addition to the technical challenge of image reconstruction was the recognition that the large number of images generated would present a challenge to conventional workflow. It was with these challenges in mind that we developed DRR as both a technical solution to fast image reconstruction and a clinical workflow solution.”

Ng said she researched several emerging technologies in medical imaging, but digital breast tomosynthesis was a technology that most interested her because of its application to breast cancer detection and its potential to mitigate the problems with mammography without increased radiation dose.

She added: “The importance of this study is to show the clinical benefit and to reduce radiation exposure to women. We feel this will definitely show the benefits of Dynamic Reconstruction and Rendering Technology,” Ng said.

The DRR technology can view the breast in various planes and at different angles.

Early detection of breast cancer is a critical factor in survival. With breast density also an issue, the higher resolution images generated by the DRR technology could make a difference.

The company’s products include the Adara 2D image processing and enhancement software for digital mammography and the Briona 3D image reconstruction software for Digital Breast Tomosynthesis.

A reader study will involve radiologists reading scans produced with the DRR technology.

The company is currently looking to establish a strategic partnership with a manufacturer.

Ng, who co-founded Real Time Tomography with Peter Ringer, enjoys the entrepreneurial process, and started the company five years ago after working for Siemens Medical Solutions with  a Small Business in Research (SBIR) grant from the National Institutes of Health.

“We were fortunate to have been awarded two SBIR grants from the NIH. Ringer and I had worked together in two previous medical imaging companies, including a startup that was acquired by Siemens.”

Ng worked at Siemens for several years until it moved the division overseas, prompting her to launch RTT. The staff engineer is also a former colleague from the same startup. The research engineer has a PhD in medical imaging and the business development director was a sales executive with several years’ experience in women’s imaging.

The company’s target customer is a medical equipment manufacturer.