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A look back at this year’s European Society of Cardiology Congress

Steve Parker, CEO of Quantum Imaging, looks back at this year’s highlights from the annual European Society of Cardiology Congress

The hot and crowded summer streets of Rome have been swelled this week as 30,000 attendees gathered for the world’s largest annual cardiology event, The European Society of Cardiology Congress. As always, a huge amount of material was presented at the event covering all aspects of research and clinical cardiology.

From our perspective, I picked up on several trends and heard interesting presentations that will influence how Acute Coronary Syndromes (heart attack and serious unstable angina) are diagnosed and the potential positive impact that those trends may have on the acute use of Magnetocardiography.

As more and more sensitive troponin assays (hscTn) are used, the debate continues about exactly how they should be deployed – and in the US there is debate over whether they should be used in clinical practice at all. One session at the Congress explored the use of hscTn and confirmed that there is little debate over what should happen to patients who present at emergency departments with “classic chest pain” and grossly elevated levels of high sensitive troponin. The majority of patients, however, will have a “slightly elevated” level of troponin which may, or may not, be diagnostic and will require further testing and serial blood tests. This moves from what was a “black and white” decision about raised troponins to one where troponin is only one factor in a much broader evaluation of the patient, including comorbidities, age etc.

In the United States, which represents an estimated third of the world’s potential market, the use of hscTn is yet to have been approved by the FDA because their concerns over it are yet to be adequately addressed. This debate stems back to 2012 when a document was issued raising concerns about how patients in the “grey zone” should be treated and how the false positives associated with higher-sensitivity troponin testing should be readily and safely identified. To date, there has still not been an answer that has satisfied the FDA to the extent where it has approved the use of high sensitive troponin assays.

Another interesting presentation was the findings of a group at the University of Leeds lead by the Professor of Cardiovascular Health Sciences, Dr Chris Gale. Dr Gale’s findings were extensively reported in the UK media with headlines such as the BBC’s “Third ‘given wrong initial heart attack diagnosis’” and The Times’ “Doctors miss signs of heart attack in women”. Data from 600,000 patients over 9 years was reviewed and it was found that 35% of women who were initially told that they were suffering from something other than what ultimately turned out to be a heart attack.

In response, a spokeswoman for NHS England commented: “We are working hard to continually improve tests for accurately diagnosing heart attacks in both men and women so that treatment can begin without delay…” This once again underpins the clear, and urgent, need for accurate and deployable testing for chest pain patients in acute areas of the hospital.

In summary, the high sensitivity discussion continues, but with each round there is a growing call for deployable technology that can sit alongside high-sensitive troponin tests to better manage patients who test positively and negatively to ensure that they end up on the correct diagnostic pathway, without adding significant institutional costs further down the line. Today, much of this is starting to be picked up by expensive imaging elsewhere in the hospital and in many cases during expensive and invasive cath lab procedures. All this essentially amounts to a growing evidence bank which indicates that deploying hscTn in the emergency room increases costs for already stretched healthcare budgets.

New appointment helps local company go global

New appointment helps local company go global

Coventry-based Quantum Imaging Ltd, has appointed a business development director to develop its overseas distribution network and enable the company to grow globally.

Jag Buttoo joined the award winning company from GE Healthcare, where he held a number of senior sales positions in the UK, Ireland and the Middle East. He has more than 23 years’ experience in the medical industry, including five years of clinical experience as a qualified radiographer and 18 years in a commercial role working in a range of disciplines, such as cardiology.

In his role at Quantum Imaging, Mr Buttoo will establish the business’ overseas distribution network, focusing on Europe and the Middle East initially. He will also be responsible for the direct sales market in the UK and USA, looking to develop strong sales and marketing networks for the company’s first product, Vitalscan.

Vitalscan is set to revolutionise the detection of heart-related problems in acute medical settings. It is a portable medical device that can scan a patient with chest pain in less than five minutes, helping doctors to ‘rule out’ cardiac conditions, such as heart attacks. Vitalscan can be used in hospital accident and emergency departments or by a patient’s bedside placing it at the front-line of medical care.

Mr Buttoo said: “I have been looking for a role within an emerging technology company for some time and Quantum Imaging felt like a perfect fit. Its technology is going to be a game-changer for cardiology and helping to build the sales network from the ground up is a huge privilege. The company’s values and vision reflect my own and I am very excited to be part of such a forward-looking organisation.”

Mr Buttoo’s is the latest in a series of appointments at the organisation, spanning researchers and clinical managers, to business development specialists and technical engineers.

CEO of Quantum Imaging, Steve Parker, said: “With Vitalscan being taken forward for clinical trials later this year we are getting ever closer to commercialisation. We therefore need to be looking towards reaching out to global markets with this technology, maximising its potential to change lives for patients globally. Jag has the right mix of experience and enthusiasm to make this happen and we are very pleased to have him as part of the team.”

For further information, please contact:
Annabel John, Speed Communications
07771 916881
Annabel.john@speedcomms.com

Leander Clarke, Speed Communications
07985 238713
Leander.clarke@speedcomms.com

Quantum Imaging nominated for best emerging Med Tech Company award

Quantum Imaging nominated for best emerging Med Tech Company award

Quantum Imaging has been shortlisted for an OBN Award in the category of best emerging Med Tech Company for its development of ground-breaking diagnosis and detection technology.

The awards, now in their eighth year, celebrate innovation and achievement across the UK life sciences industry and recognise achievements from emerging to late stage research and development companies, as well as life sciences investors.

A judging panel of industry experts will decide the overall winner in each category, with the winning companies being announced at the OBN Awards Ceremony on Thursday 6th October at the Oxford Town Hall.

CEO of Quantum Imaging, Steve Parker, said: “We are very pleased to be shortlisted for such a prestigious industry award. 2016 has been a very successful year for us so far with award recognition, a growing team and our first product, Vitalscan, moving towards commercialisation with CE marking expected this autumn and clinical trials due to start towards the end of the year with a multicentre international clinical study”.

“Being shortlisted for this award is testament to the hard work and dedication of the whole team and I am very proud to work with such an exciting and innovative team of professionals.”

Welcome Robert Harrison to the team

Robert Harrison is latest addition to the Quantum Imaging technical team. As our mechanical design and production engineer, Robert will be focused on developing our mechanical designs, overseeing the supply chain and ensuring the quality of our devices achieves the highest quality standards.  Robert  served as an apprentice and engineer with Rolls Royce, and more recently as an engineer with Caterpillar, and Sierra CP.

We welcome Robert to our growing team and his support on our mission to becoming a volume manufacturer of high quality, precision, medical devices.

Welcome Robert!

Steve Parker of Quantum Imaging comments on Journal of American Cardiology

Steve Parker of Quantum Imaging comments on a paper in the Journal of American College of Cardiology’s (JACC) on whether the use of high-sensitivity troponin will increase the frequency of MI diagnoses.

 

A paper recently published in the Journal of American College of Cardiology (JACC) illustrates the  challenges associated with the increasing use of high-sensitivity troponin tests in the diagnosis and detection of acute cardiac events in emergency departments.

 

Cardiac troponin is a protein released into the blood when there is physical damage to the heart muscle itself. While troponin is a very effective way of identifying cardiac cell damage and it has a role to play in detecting heart attacks and the whole range of Acute Coronary Syndromes (ACS), the challenge comes when smaller and smaller amounts of the protein are identified. High-sensitivity troponin tests are undoubtedly more specific, but they begin to identify trace amounts of the protein that may be present naturally in a person’s body. The JACC paper cites that approximately 10% of men over 65 years would test positive for troponin when they had no cardiac event symptoms. Given people in this age range are more likely to come to hospital complaining of chest pain and the fact that they are likely to have troponin occurring naturally, there is likely to be an increasing number of false positive troponin tests. Once a patient has received a positive troponin result they must be thoroughly investigated, meaning longer hospital stays, unnecessary therapies and investigation. This ultimately results in adding further strain and expense to already overstretched healthcare systems.

Cardiac troponin tests have an important place alongside all of the other tools available to a physician in the emergency detection of acute coronary events. But, as more and more sensitive tests become available, there is a corresponding increase in the need for tools to identify the false positives from the system. That’s where Magnetocardiography (MCG), the technology utilised by Quantum Vitalscan, comes in as it has the potential capability to identify these ‘false positive’ patients as well as those identified at initial triage, quickly, safely  and reliably in a simple, fast and non-invasive test.

Troponin tests are a ‘rule in’ test, meaning that a negative troponin test cannot rule out unstable angina, or an early evolving heart attack before any muscle damage can be detected (because troponin only appears in the blood several hours after the onset of heart damage). A positive test, regardless of whether the levels represent natural cell demise or a potential cardiac event, requires thorough investigation which means longer hospital stays and additional tests to be carried out on potentially healthy patients. Whether positive or negative, it is clear that troponin tests, including high-sensitivity tests, are not accurate enough to be used in isolation.

MCG, however, is a ‘rule out’ test. This means it looks for normal (non ischemic) heart function and can do so with near 100% accuracy. It ‘rules out’ cardiac-related problems and therefore enables non-cardiac patients to be identified quickly, potentially saving hospitals valuable time and resources. Where normal heart function is not detected, patients can then go on to be tested using ‘rule in’ tests, such as troponin to determine the specific problem and subsequent treatment. MCG is not a replacement for troponin tests, but it helps to support ‘rule in’ tests by ensuring that patients with normal heart function are identified early and not sent for these types of test. We believe that this will reduce the additional financial burden due to levels of false positive troponin tests because those with normal heart function would not be tested in the first place.

High sensitivity troponin tests do represent a significant technological milestone in the diagnosis and management of cardiac events. The JACC paper states that this technological advancement will likely increase the frequency of correct diagnosis and make more efficient the care of some heart-related problems. It believes that the implications for the entire health care system must be considered because the identification of elevated troponin levels from conditions other than heart-related problems will also increase, with the potential to increase subsequent testing and prolong inpatient care. That is why we believe that MCG as found in Quantum Vitalscan will be a key tool to work in conjunction with other tests to ensure that heart problems are diagnosed and detected as accurately as possible, potentially helping to save lives.

’Will the use of high-sensitivity troponin increase the frequency of diagnosis of MI?’ was published on the American College of Cardiology’s website in June 2016 by Purav Mody MD and James A. de Lemos MD. It is available to read in full here.

 

Ian Watson joins the team

Ian Watson has joined the technical department here at Quantum Imaging as a Lead Electronics Engineer.  Having previously held roles at Ferranti, Thomson Sonar Systems, Ericsson, Marconi systems and Power Energy Solutions, Ian brings over 15 years’ experience working within Electronics Engineering.

His expertise include low noise analogue; Multi-layer PCB design; CPLDs and FPGA designs in VHDL as well as experience adhering to strict design standards across multiple industries such as Intrinsic Safety (ATeX), Functional Safety (IEC 61508), ISO 26262 and Embedded Software – C.

Ian will bring additional expertise into the business to develop and lead electronics development which is essential to the company’s success.

Welcome Ian!

Heart disease in the news

We are really pleased to see the clinical need we know to exist for fast and accurate detection and diagnosis in cardiology being highlighted by the national media. This is why Quantum Imaging is engaged in commercializing innovative, potentially life changing technology; to meet this need and cut diagnosis time to minutes for better patient outcomes.

Click here for more information