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Mechanical device for diagnosing spinal conditions

Client

VibeDx Diagnostic Corp.

Opportunity

Somewhere between 12 to 30 percent of the world’s population suffers from back pain at any given time. Over the course of our lives, 80 percent will encounter severe back pain in some form. As one of the top 10 reasons for emergency room visits in the U.S., back pain results in more than $30 billion of lost productivity annually.  

In the United States, the lumbar and thoracic Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) industry is worth $4.7 billion annually under Medicare and Medicaid, while less than 10% of back pain can be linked to a specific cause through using current diagnostic procedures. 

The stats suggest you might be at risk. Would you want your doctor to identify a potential back issue before it becomes a realized illness? If the condition was pre-existing, would you want to know which treatment methods were best?

Technology

Like a seismograph that measures earthquake shock waves in the ground, VibeDx™ applies a very gentle mechanical vibration to the spine. The frequency response is measured and indicates what is occurring in a patient’s spine.

Current diagnostic technology relies on imagery to identify back problems, but the spine is a mechanical structure. VibeDx™ uses the integrity-testing principles of aeronautics and civil engineering to assess the structure of the spine, rather than simply seeing how it looks.  

The test is made up of a few 10-second applications of vibration, with the device applying approximately 2kg of pressure on the patient’s spine and moving approximately 1mm in the process. The fast, handy device is compact and, unlike certain imaging technology, is free from harmful radiation, making it available for use in any examination room. 

Status

With the help of the Alberta Innovates-Technology Futures Health Product Development program, the patent-pending device has undergone a number of enhancements, resulting from clinical trials made possible by Tech Futures funding and hosted by HealthPointe Medical Centres in Edmonton. 

The prototype was invasive but boasted 99.8 percent accuracy in identifying 15 different pathologies in 5,030 out of 5,040 tests.  The less-invasive second version of the device was used to test 10 sets of twins: five concordant and five discordant. VibeDx was able to determine five different disease states among discordant twins, while detecting no differences between sets of concordant twins. 

Thanks to a TEC Ventureprize award in 2011, VibeDx™ is getting attention. For the device to reach its full commercial potential, industry partners are being sought for sales and marketing, as well as supply-chain purposes. 

The ultimate goal: for VibeDx™ to help diagnose specific spinal disorders and assess appropriate treatments in a novel, accurate, efficient, and effective manner, working with industry to make the device successful and help those in urgent need of care.

Visit VibeDx.com to learn more about this device. Visit AlbertaTechFutures.ca to learn more about applied research and commercialization services offered by Alberta Innovates-Technology Futures.



Put our expertise to work for you

Alex Tayler

Coordinator, Health Technology Programs
780-450-5345
alex.tayler@albertainnovates.ca