The Australian Lung Health Initiative (ALHI) has been awarded an initial Phase 1 grant of $960,000 by the federal government for the development of a zero-dose paediatric lung scanner.
The funding is being provided from the $20 billion Medical Research Future Fund.
The current requirement for a significant radiation dose makes lung imaging in children a challenge. Current lung checks also typically require patients to sit still or follow special instructions, which can be difficult for seniors and young children.
The ALHI brings together scientists, engineers, manufacturers and medical researchers to improve lung screening and treatment through the XV technology and new low-dose imaging science.
The technology, conceived by Australian company 4Dx, is a four-dimensional lung function imaging analysis that non-invasively measures lung function in real-time within the breathing lungs.
"This enables highly detailed maps of lung ventilation patterns and airflow, which allow clinicians effectively to visualise and quantify the motion of within the lungs in high resolution, enabling pinpoint identification of deficits in ventilation," said the ALHI in a statement.
The technology is designed to provide more detailed information and faster validation of treatment with reduced radiation exposure, while also allowing for the earlier detection of disease.
“The MRFF Frontiers Grant is truly visionary, both in scope and size, and will make a real impact in Australia’s innovation ecosystem,” said Professor Andreas Fouras, founder of 4Dx and the CEO and Head of ALHI Scientific Committee. “We are delighted to receive this grant, and are honoured by the esteemed company in which we find ourselves.”
“Paediatric lung health is a recognised issue, and currently we don’t have the tools available to help. This grant will enable the development of a technology that specifically targets this currently neglected area. Our aim is to transform the lives of children afflicted with chronic lung disease, while developing world-leading technology that will generate significant export income and directly create jobs in high-tech manufacturing, science and clinical fields,” added Professor Fouras.
The ALHI will form part of a National Strategic Action Plan for Lung Conditions, in conjunction with The Lung Foundation of Australia.
According to Lung Foundation CEO Mark Brooke, “This Action Plan outlines a comprehensive, collaborative and evidence-based approach to reducing the individual and societal burden of lung conditions, and improving lung health.”