Since humans have had the skill to manufacture hand tools, we have been working on our surgical prowess, building up, over time, better and better ways to do it. Though early surgery techniques — usually conducted to an injury during sword to sword combat or other traumas common of the day — were rudimentary at best, it was all the ‘surgeon’ had to alleviate the patient’s pain, bleeding and all too often infection that would, more than likely, finish them off.
It was only during the industrial revolution in the 18th century that surgical techniques began resembling, though only in a small way, modern procedures.
Part of the problem had always been with diagnosing what the underlying condition was. A massive breakthrough came in 1895 when Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen discovered the x-ray. This one invention revolutionized medicine forever. Now, doctors could go behind the wall of skin, soft tissue, to the skeleton. To do this previously, the person would have had to be expired. X-rays, though — popularly called radiographs these days — are only useful for analyzing bone on the whole, and not soft tissue and organs.
It wasn’t until the beginning of the 1970s and the introduction of the CT Scan (Computerized Axial Tomography) that things really started cooking with gas. Evolving from tomograms, which are multiple x-rays taken at varying levels within the body to examine the depth of the injury, they work together with computers where they generate three-dimensional cross images which are easy to scrutinize. Another advantage CT scans have over traditional x-rays is the patient is exposed to much less radiation and diagnosis of illness/condition times are much shorter.
At around the same time CT scans were changing the medical world, another invention came onto the scene: MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging). A very sensitive and powerful tool, the magic of this, unlike x-rays and CR scans, is the patient is not exposed to any radiation whatsoever. An MRI is operated by two extremely strong magnets, one external, the other internal. The electromagnetic waves produced by the MRI detect the millions of positively and negatively charged atoms within the body. Acting like magnets themselves, the atoms can be analyzed with computers using mathematical formulations, and the data is then collated, merged and shaped to bring back data that is transformed into a wholly unified visual image. MRIs are great for looking at nerves and soft tissue.
Through the evolution from a physician’s intuition (not the best for the poor patient), x-rays, CR scans and onto the incredible value MRIs bring for the diagnosis of medical conditions, we have improved the life outcomes — by better diagnostic tools — of patients.
It can’t get any better than this, can it?
Well, yes it can.
Quantum technology, that’s how. One startup, a spinoff from the institutes of Theoretical Physics and Quantum Optics at the University of Ulm, Germany, working with a combination of its exciting IP, a great entrepreneurial team and world-renowned scientists, all top experts in their respective fields, are determined to become ‘front-runners in the development and commercialization of novel imaging and sensing applications’.
NVision, using the newest innovations in quantum physics to change the transformative features of nitrogen vacancies in diamonds, which will, in turn, change the tide in molecular analysis and medical imaging.
WE’RE REVOLUTIONIZING MEDICAL IMAGING
The startup promises four things:
— to raise standards in the medical world for non-invasive, precision medicine
— to promise supreme MRI accuracy using the most powerful magnets available, ushering in unparalleled knowledge about tumours
— to provide healthcare that is accessible to all and gives more people the chance to obtain better cancer diagnostics
— to become a home for great talent with a common goal in engineering, physics and material science
The dream of NVision, then, is to improve upon MRI accuracy, utilizing the power of quantum physics. The founding team, whose accumulated knowledge is from years in research labs and industry experience, respectively — have come to this point.
The first co-founder of four and CTO at NVision is Ilai Schwartz. With a bag of skills in research and management consulting, he has a master’s degree in physics from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Martin Plenio is chief scientific advisor and also Alexander von Humboldt professor and director of the Institute of Theoretical Physics at Ulm University, he has also led important collaborative projects in quantum information and technology.
An expert in quantum physics, bio-photonics, biochemistry, and material science, Professor Fedor Jelezko is a pioneer in the field of Nitrogen-Vacancy centers and quantum processing in diamonds. His research is much cited and, impressively, he holds five patents related to diamond technologies.
Professor Alex Retzker, head of the quantum technology theory group at the Racah Institute of Physics at the Hebrew University, has made fundamental contributions to the areas of quantum computing (QC), quantum sensing and quantum simulations, and is currently researching on theory proposals for the realization of quantum with an emphasis on the platforms of trapped ions and NV centres in diamond.
To guide the founding team is NVision’s CEO, Dr. Sella Brosh. With global commercialization experience in the pharma and med device spaces, he is sure to add something to the startup’s onward success.
NVision’s financial assistance comes from two investors, Playground Global and b-to-v. With everything in place, nothing is stopping NVision from making an impact on the sector.
There can be little doubt that quantum technologies will have a major part to play in multiple industries, but the best thing of all is how it will shape medical outcomes in the years to come, and that is just great news.