Revolutionizing MRI imaging: new quantum tech unleashes metabolic insights

NVision's groundbreaking quantum technology transforms MRI imaging, allowing doctors to quickly and accurately assess cancer treatment effectiveness.
Abdul-Rahman Oladimeji Bello
Patient ready to do MRI scan
Patient ready to do MRI scan


German start-up NVision is revolutionizing MRI imaging with its groundbreaking quantum technology, offering a glimmer of hope for cancer patients. They are currently leveraging the power of quantum physics. How? NVision's has a "hyperpolarisation" technique that enhances the magnetic signal of molecules in the human body by an astonishing 100,000 times. And they are doing this using existing MRI machines

This cutting-edge technology enables MRI imaging to delve into the metabolic level of cells, providing far more comprehensive information than traditional tissue-level imaging. Rather than waiting for months to determine the effectiveness of cancer treatments or to track tumor progression, NVision's method allows doctors to gain insights within days, potentially saving lives.

CEO Sella Brosh emphasized the urgency of the technology, stating, "Some patients just don't have time. One failed treatment is almost a death sentence because you really don't have enough time to change course." With NVision's breakthrough, MRI imaging becomes a game-changer, shifting from an anatomical perspective to a metabolic one.

How MRIs work alongside NVision's Method

MRIs rely on the magnetic signature of water in the body to generate images that highlight different tissues. However, metabolism plays a critical role in our survival and tumor growth, involving energy utilisation. NVision's technology enables MRIs to become metabolic imagers at an unprecedented scale.

Rather than enhancing MRI machines' power or sensitivity, NVision's quantum approach strengthens the signal of specific metabolites, making them easier to read for existing machines. The start-up targets a metabolite called pyruvate, a sugar cancer cells tend to favor. They manipulate the nuclear spins on the carbon atoms of pyruvate molecules. Thus, NVision enhances its magnetic signal by a staggering 100,000 times on a standard MRI.

Revolutionizing MRI imaging: new quantum tech unleashes metabolic insights
MRI process

CTO Ilai Schwartz explains the process as orienting the spins in a single direction, compared to the usual scenario where spins are oriented in different directions and tend to cancel each other out. To simplify the concept, imagine counting small toy soldiers scattered over the floor. Counting them becomes much easier if they are neatly aligned straight.

This breakthrough makes it easier for MRIs to detect these signals and unlocks a wealth of additional information that can be interpreted. It's like transitioning from viewing a street as a mere line on a map to exploring it in vivid detail through Google Street View.

The newfound ability to visualize metabolites on MRI images allows healthcare professionals to track their processing within the body and identify any anomalies. For instance, cancer cells produce significantly more lactate than normal cells when pyruvate is metabolized. Detecting this excessive lactate production helps doctors accurately pinpoint tumors and monitor their growth.

"In real-time, you're tracking the sugar as it goes into the cell and transforms into other metabolites," explained Brosh. "It's a completely new dimension that MRI can provide you with."

With NVision's quantum technology, MRI imaging has become a powerful tool in the fight against cancer. Faster and more precise assessments of treatment effectiveness can offer patients the chance to change course promptly, potentially improving their chances of survival. This technology provides a new dimension of understanding, paving the way for enhanced diagnoses and tailored treatment plans.

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