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November 11, 2019

Block’s spinoff receives NIH small business innovation grant

Written By: Staff


TherVoyant, a medical technology startup founded by Professor of Biomedical Engineering Walter Block and his UW-Madison colleague Andrew Alexander, a professor of medical physics and psychiatry, recently earned a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop image-guided technologies to guide and accelerate minimally invasive surgical evacuation of intracerebral hemorrhages (ICH).

ICH is a devastating injury that creates stroke-like outcomes in about 100,000 people each year in the United States. Damage from mechanical effects of the blood clot in the brain precedes damage due to exposure to decaying blood products and edema, with little promise of rehabilitation afterward for survivors.

Minimally invasive surgical approaches can dissolve blood clots by delivering recombinant tissue-type plasminogen activator (rtPA) directly into clots through rigid catheter REPLACEions. However, the extent of clot reduction and, thus, treatment benefits vary significantly between patients due to a lack of monitoring technology to guide clot removal while maintaining a desirable safety profile. Without knowledge of where the rtPA is distributed, clinicians must conservatively dose patients to avoid a re-hemorrhage.

TherVoyant has recognized how its team’s expertise in magnetic resonance-guided brain infusions can drive rtPA further into the clot while monitoring its spatial distribution. This advance will accelerate treatment and evacuate a larger portion of the clot while maintaining safety. Dr. Azam Ahmed, a UW Health neurosurgeon and UW-Madison assistant professor, is consulting with the TherVoyant team and providing experimental mockups.