Professor Jonathan Scott and graduate student Steven McCabe from the School of Engineering at University of Waikato were finalists in this year’s Kiwinet Awards, for their work inventing new designs that allow people with implanted electrodes to safely have full MRI scans.
The KiwiNet Research Commercialisation Awards celebrate the achievements of individuals, teams and organisations actively commercialising publicly funded research.
Professor Scott explains that many people are fitted with medical implants such as spinal cord and deep brain stimulators. People wearing one of these devices usually can’t go into an MRI machine as the strong radio frequency signals react with the leads. Although most modern implants are made from material safe in both the RF and magnetic fields of scanners, the electrodes connected to these devices that deliver a therapeutic electric pulse to an area such as the spinal cord are not safe.
The new lead designs were invented in response to needs of Australian start-up, Saluda Medical, whose products automate implants for the management of chronic pain. Their inventions address deep-brain stimulation and spinal-cord stimulation (together “neurostimulation”).
Saluda Medical recently raised AU$53 million after successful human trials to support commercialisation of its technology. The Saluda solution offers a significant improvement in quality of outcomes for patients and has the technology to make a significant impact in its market over a short period of time. Professor Scott’s MRI-Safe human-implantable electrodes are now set to generate significant royalty streams and make a significant market impact.