The first X-ray scan in the world (right), next to the palm of Nanox’s CEO, Poliakine. Photo: LUZ corporate photography
The imaging start-up Nanox showcased for the first time the digital X-ray machine it has developed, conducting a live demonstration of its capabilities and function. The demonstration, held at the company’s headquarters in Neve Ilan, took place at the annual conference of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA), one of the most important professional conferences in the world of radiology, held this year in an online format. During the demonstration, two-dimensional and three-dimensional X-ray scans of a hand, a phantom of a chest X-ray, and a broken bone of a lamb were performed using the device, which were then analyzed by two qualified radiologists.
The research firm Citron recently cast doubts about the company’s claim to revolutionize the world of medical imaging, as part of a scathing report it published titled “Nanox – A Complete Farce on the Market.” Nanox defined the demonstration successful and believes that it has succeeded in dismiss all doubts regarding the company’s technology. Nanox’s demonstration has also aroused great interest in the stock markets. Throughout the month of november, Nanox’s share has almost doubled and traded at a market cap of $2.6 billion ahead of its RSNA presentation.
The demonstration was moderated by the company’s founder and CEO, Ran Poliakine. At the opening of the demo Poliakine presented the digital X-ray source the company has developed as a replacement for the heated filament currently being used in X-ray machines. It is a MEMS chip that includes hundreds of millions of electron guns, each of which emits a single electron at every pulse, and whose operation can be controlled digitally.
Poliakine: “We’ve been working for a decade to perfect what Wilhelm Röntgen invented more than a hundred years ago. He invented a mechanism to produce a current of electrons that generate X-rays by heating a filament to a temperature of more than 1,000°C. We focused on creating a digital alternative which provides a new source of X-rays and operates at room temperature.”
Nanox’s ‘cold’ system constitutes a paradigm shift compared to “hot” imaging systems. The company estimates that the new technology will make it possible to produce more portable and compact CT systems for $10,000 per system, instead of at a price of about $3 million, which is currently the average price of CT scanners. “Our X-ray source can be mass-produced, at a very low cost, and shipped all over the world.”
Reaching closure with William Röntgen’s wife
The first scan during the demonstration was of Poliakine’s palm. It was a symbolic choice, since the first scan performed by William Röntgen, which ultimately became iconic, was of the palm of his wife, Anna. In the two scans, by Anna Röntgen and by Ran Poliakine, the wedding ring can be seen clearly. Following that they performed phantom scans of a thorax and of a broken bone of a sheep. The two radiologists who participated in the demonstration were Dr. Noga Shabshin of Sheba Hospital, and a member of the company’s advisory committee, Dr. Michael Hughes of Florida. The two examined the quality of the scan compared to scans made using traditional X-ray machines and conducted a discussion of the findings.
The company markets the system through collaborations with governments, hospitals and healthcare chains. The company has signed distribution agreements in 13 countries in the past year. It intends to offer the use of systems in a Pay-per-Scan model, thereby reducing the costs of equipping scanners.